Bank of England unveils plans for new Leeds hub which could set policy for nation's finances

The Bank of England has announced its intention to open a northern hub in Leeds in a move which could see policy decisions made from Yorkshire.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 12:01 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 8:42 am

England’s central bank intends to significantly enhance its staff presence across the country and said it intends to locate its new hub in Leeds which will operate in tandem with its nearly 300 year old headquarters on London’s Threadneedle Street.

The Yorkshire Post understands the restructure could see policy decisions made from the Leeds hub and that the Bank is actively considering having one of its deputy governors based in Yorkshire on a full time basis.

A spokesperson confirmed the news saying that Leeds was its preferred location owing to the city’s strong financial services sector, its transport links and the talent pool available in the area.

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A Leeds hub could be set to make policy decisions alongside the Bank of England's Threadneedle Street headquarters.

No information is available yet as to the precise location and number of jobs that the hub will entail for Leeds.

However the Bank’s chief operating officer Jo Place is to lead a review of its geographical footprint, a process commissioned by its governors and court of directors.

It will consider aspects such as the number of staff involved, recruitment models, and the timescales for delivery.

The Bank’s governor, Andrew Bailey, said: “Our mission at the Bank is to promote the good of the people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary and financial stability and to deliver that for the whole country.

Leeds is the Bank's preferred destination.

“I made a commitment at my pre-appointment hearing before the Treasury Select Committee in March last year to look at how we can expand our staff presence across the UK beyond our existing Agency network.

“Working through a year of Covid has shown that we can function well virtually and, as the country begins to open up again, it is more important than ever to think about what our future working arrangements look like.

This includes the options for working more remotely, and how we can gain better insights into the country and the people we serve.

“Having a greater proportion of our workforce located outside London and the South East will better enable us to support our mission.”

Andrew Bailey, Bank of England.

Ms Place added: “We are the Central Bank of the UK and we are committed to how we can best serve, and represent, all the people in the UK. Our physical presence in locations across the country is a critical part of that.”

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, welcomed the news but said the basing of a senior policy maker at the hub would be crucial to its success.

"Moving more highly-skilled jobs to established centres for financial services in the North, such as Leeds, makes the case to younger workers that you don't need to live in London to work at top institutions,” he said.

"However, for this to be meaningful, a senior policy maker such as the Bank’s Chief Economist should be based at the proposed Northern Hub in Leeds.

“As more powers arrive for local leaders to deliver real change, this sends a message to the private sector that Northshoring makes good sense.

“What we’re seeing is the ripple-effect of big names such as Channel 4 moving operations northwards, creating jobs and growth for local communities."

The news comes as the Bank confirmed its cash centre in Leeds is due to close in2023 when the lease on the building expires.

Roger Marsh. Chair of the LEP and NP11 group of Northern local enterprise partnerships, said: “The decision to locate the new Bank of England hub in Leeds is testament to the strength of our financial and professional services sector and represents a substantial economic opportunity.

“Our region is already home to some of the UK’s largest financial services institutions and today’s announcement, which follows just weeks after Leeds was named as the home of the new UK Infrastructure Bank, makes West Yorkshire the undisputed second centre for financial services outside of London.

“The move signifies a new page in the relationship between the government and cities and regions across the North, where we work in partnership to unlock economic potential and deliver on the ambitions for levelling-up all parts of the country.

“This landmark decision takes us another step further in realising our vision for an economically thriving Northern Powerhouse that drives economic prosperity, international competitiveness and inclusive growth for the benefit of everyone across our great towns, cities and rural communities.”