Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Concern over bank inquiry refusal

bank of england building
The Bank of England said it answered to Westminster

A Scottish Parliament committee has accused the Bank of England of "intransigence" for refusing to appear before MSPs.

The bank, which is responsible for setting UK interest rates, declined to be questioned by Holyrood's economy committee on the financial crisis.

The bank is accountable to Westminster. Its governor Mervyn King has been asked to reconsider the Holyrood request.

The Bank of England has agreed to a private meeting.

But economy committee convener Iain Smith said this was no replacement for a public evidence session.

In a letter to Mr King, the Liberal Democrat MSP said: "I would ask you to rethink your intransigence on this issue and look at how other UK bodies have adopted a more flexible approach."

Mr Smith said he was "incredulous" to learn that the Bank of England was meeting business contacts, Scottish Government officials and other organisations, albeit in private.

Mr King, in an earlier letter to the committee, said the Bank of England had a "clear line of accountability" to the UK parliament, and appearing before MSPs could be seen as an accountability hearing.

He added that the bank's existing channels of communication, with the Scottish Government, were the most appropriate.

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