This year, the Sixth Formers had the opportunity to hear from a member of the Bank of England, Alison Scott, during our weekly lecture period. While in a period of economic uncertainty, hearing from a member of such an important organisation that manages the UK’s financial systems, was eye-opening. Alison began the talk by looking into who the Bank of England are and explored their role in the UK economy. She outlined the key responsibilities the central bank has - including printing banknotes, monitoring high street banks, setting the bank rate and looking after the UK’s gold reserves. Then she provided an insight into her personal career at the Bank of England. Alison currently works in the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) whose role is to regulate various firms including banks, credit unions and major investment firms. The PRA looks to ensure safety of the regulated firms, promote effective competition between them and protect insurance policyholders. The firms are regulated through various methods including annual assessments, analysis across sectors as a whole and portfolio based.

We then looked at the current financial situation of the UK and how the Bank of England is looking to respond to it, alongside their potential next steps to help combat the high levels of inflation and depreciated currency value. However, light was shed on future plans for the Bank of England as Alison discussed the idea of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). A CBDC is a digital currency and unlike cryptocurrencies, it is issued by the central bank rather than being privately issued. She explained the main reasoning behind potentially introducing a CBDC was because the way people pay for goods and services is changing, and people are using cash far less. Financial technology firms are innovating and creating new ways to pay and these new opportunities come with new risks that the Bank of England need to prepare for.

On behalf of the students, I would like to thank Mr Laferton for organising a wonderful lecture for us all!