The Pill he is ; how can our Bank’s economist be so out of touch?

The Bank of England’s Chief Economist – Huw Pill

Since the middle of the 19th century, people have been using “pill” to refer to people who are hard to swallow for one reason or another. A person might be called a “pill” for being unpleasant, foolish, boring, weak, or otherwise difficult to take.

The unfortunately named Huw Pill told a podcast in the US that there was a “reluctance to accept that, yes, we’re all worse off“.

Huw Pill is the chief economist of the Bank of England, a man charged with succeeding Andy Haldane – an economist with the common touch. Sadly Mr. Pill doesn’t seem to have inherited that gene. Here’s what he said to he told the Beyond Unprecedented podcast from Columbia Law School.

“Somehow in the UK, someone needs to accept that they’re worse off and stop trying to maintain their real spending power by bidding up prices, whether through higher wages or passing energy costs on to customers etc,

What we’re facing now is that reluctance to accept that, yes, we’re all worse off and we all have to take our share; to try and pass that cost onto one of our compatriots and saying: ‘We’ll be alright, but they will have to take our share too’.

That pass-the-parcel game that’s going on here, that game is one that’s generating inflation, and that part of inflation can persist.”

We aren’t “all in this together”.

What people are objecting to, and I listened to a phone in on this overnight, is that Huw Pill is not “in it together” with all the people he is talking about. He does not have to worry about whether he can pay for the basket or trolley of food when he reaches the checkout, he doesn’t have to worry about the electricity meter or whether he can put fuel in the car or afford the bus. None of these – the impacts of the inflation on the poor, touch Mr Pill.

The people on the phone in did not take kindly to the idea that after a decade of austerity they were being asked to restrain themselves in asking for cost of living pay increases or benefit increases or putting the prices up in the businesses they own – when they are just not getting by.

To get the lecture from a man who represents the Bank of England charged with keeping inflation to 2% or below, was too much for many of last night’s callers to swallow, a bitter pill indeed.

A trancript is downloadable from here

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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5 Responses to The Pill he is ; how can our Bank’s economist be so out of touch?

  1. emigreeu says:

    Surely he is only describing an uncomfortable truth.

    He might have added ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. ‘

  2. emigreeu says:

    “Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”

  3. byronmckeeby says:

    Pill’s predecessor, Haldane, of course claimed in 2016 that despite being “moderately financially literate” he was not able to make “the remotest sense of pensions”. If he was trying to come across as “one of us” by such remarks then he was talking through his hat on that one.

    I may be wrong, but I presume both Messrs Pill and Haldane may be members of the Bank of England (non-contributory?) pension scheme to which their employer pays annual contributions of around 50%.

  4. John Mather says:

    The whole article is worthlistening to as is the rest in this series

  5. Dr Robin Rowles says:

    All of us are affected by price inflation, of course we are. Sadly, the lower down the “wages ladder” we are, the (VERY) much larger effect it has on our daily lives, and, of course, the smaller our chances of being able to cope with it!

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