Bank of England confirms EU exit research after email misfire

Sat May 23, 2015 6:54am EDT
 
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By William Schomberg

LONDON (Reuters) - The Bank of England plans to assess the implications of a possible British exit from the European Union, it said in a statement, confirming an email it inadvertently sent to a newspaper about the supposedly confidential research project.

The Guardian reported that an aide to a senior Bank official said in the email the project should be kept secret from most BoE staff and any journalists asking about it should be told the Bank was looking at a broad range of European economic issues.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was re-elected on May 7, has pledged to reshape Britain's ties with the EU before holding an in-out membership referendum by the end of 2017.

As with last year's referendum on Scottish independence, the BoE is keen to avoid any suggestion it is entering a political debate.

In a statement on Friday evening, the Bank confirmed its intention to launch the assessment.

"It should not come as a surprise that the Bank is undertaking such work about a stated government policy," it said in the statement posted on its website.

"There are a range of economic and financial issues that arise in the context of the renegotiation and national referendum. It is one of the Bank’s responsibilities to assess those that relate to its objectives."

Many British business leaders are worried about the possibility of losing access to their main export markets and there are also concerns about the impact on Britain's financial services industry.   Continued...

 
The Union Flag flies next to the European Flag outside the European Commission building in central London May 25, 2014. REUTERS/Neil Hall