Bank of England culture questioned over 'staggering' £390,000 travel bill


The Bank of England has been criticised after it was disclosed that two of its bigwigs spent close to £400,000 on travel expenses, including more than £11,000 on one flight.

Donald Kohn and Anil Kashyap, members of the Bank's Financial Policy Committee, were accused of running up a "staggering" bill by MPs on the Treasury committee when the details emerged during a hearing on Tuesday.

Simon Clarke MP, who sits on the powerful committee, said the figures had "disturbing echoes" of the MPs' expenses scandal.

He added: "One of the most important aspects of the culture of any public institution is of course that it provides value for money to the taxpayer.

"In the last two and a half years two members of the FPC, Mr Kohn and Mr Kashyap, have incurred £390,000 in travel expenses, which is simply a staggering sum."

They are based in the US and Mr Clarke said the £11,084.89 flight for Mr Kashyap from Chicago to London would leave his constituents "gobsmacked".

Mr Kohn, meanwhile, spent £8,000 on a flight from Washington to London and £469 on taxis as part of expenses for a single meeting.

The Bank is partly funded by taxpayers.

Bradley Fried, chairman of the Bank's court, was subjected to an hour-long grilling in which he attempted to defend the outlay, saying that the expenses should be considered in the context of their skills and contribution.

"Having seen these committees in action, and seen the contributions they've made, as high as their expenses have been, so staggering as been their contribution," he said.

Mr Clarke also referenced a near-£100,000 Bank of England summer party, first disclosed by the Press Association last year.

The Tory MP said that at that cost, it must have been "one hell of a party".

"There is something awry here with the culture that allows this kind of spending to be considered to be normative," he said as he ripped into Mr Fried.

The FPC's remit is to identify, monitor and take action to remove or reduce systemic economic risks and enhancing the resilience of the UK financial system.