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Bank of England gave 'slap in the face' to taxpayers over £3k retirement bash

Published 02/10/2016

The money was spent on a send-off for Martin Weale
The money was spent on a send-off for Martin Weale

The Bank of England has been blasted for splashing out more than £3,000 on a lavish retirement bash for former rate-setter Martin Weale, just a week before slashing interest rates.

The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street spent £3,324 on a retirement reception for the ex-monetary policy committee (MPC) member, who stepped down on August 8.

Dr Weale was also presented with a bound set of speeches covering his tenure, costing the Bank a further £416.

The celebrations were held at the Bank on July 26, just nine days before it slashed the cost of borrowing for the first time since March 2009 to a historic low of 0.25%.

External MPC members were handed a 7% pay rise by the Bank in 2015/16, increasing their annual pay to £148,200.

The figures were released by the Bank following a freedom of i nformation request by the Press Association.

John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "This is a slap in the face to all those who have struggled under the Bank of England's policies.

"Savers have had very little to celebrate over the last eight years because of rock bottom interest rates and many will find it in particularly bad taste that staff see fit to throw lavish parties and dish out extravagant gifts."

The central Bank is no stranger to expensive soirées after spending more than £13,000 on retirement parties for Sir Mervyn King when the former Bank governor retired three years ago.

It also spent in excess of £13,000 on presents for Lord King, including £10,000 on a copy of a painting of the former Bank governor, £2,505 on a replica bust of German writer Johann von Goethe and £597 on a silver napkin ring.

The Bank's decision to slash the cost of borrowing from 0.5% to 0.25% in August heaped further misery on savers who have been grappling with low returns since the financial crisis.

Since then, the Bank said the interest rate cut had helped support the financial system and kept bank funding conditions broadly stable following the EU referendum result.

The Bank of England declined to comment.

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