Representatives from Boston’s charity sector with the Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane (centre, back)

The Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane met with charity leaders in Boston to discuss current pressures.

The round table was organised by Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS), hosted at Boston Mayflower Housing Association and included representatives also of Boston Food Bank, Centrepoint homeless charity, Citizen’s Advice, the Credit Union and Boston Big Local.  All had a story to tell.

Andy Haldane is also Executive Director for Monetary Analysis, Research and Statistics and a member of our Monetary Policy Committee. He and a small team from the Bank’s East Midland regional office were in the area to get a feel for the state of the economy at a local level and how interest rate decisions affect society as well as business.

The bank’s request to meet with the voluntary and community sector followed a similar round table discussion elsewhere last year.  The discussion on Friday, May 26, provided valuable insights on the impact on the least financially resilient people in our communities.

LCVS chief executive David Fannin said: “As a result of this discussion, the bank confirmed it has decided to widen its reach and make this a regular feature of its intelligence gathering activity.

“Andy Haldane was interested in just how much squeeze is happening due to austerity when judging how well the economy is doing and setting interest rates.

“Following an open and honest discussion, he left with an impending sense of ‘safety net’ support organisations being stretched more than ever before and increasing numbers of people facing personal crisis.  The recovery is fragile in places like Boston and support for the sector at this time is more important than ever with funding cuts and austerity having a big effect and shifting demand as we to try to support the most vulnerable.

“Part of our core purpose at LCVS is to create a stronger third sector voice and develop local networks that help that voice to be heard.  This was a great opportunity to get people from local organisations which support our most financially vulnerable people together and enable them to be heard at the highest level.  The challenge is massive.  I am grateful to busy colleagues for giving up their time. It was a very illuminating experience for all involved.  Sharing information and experience like this helps us all stay focussed on the hard road ahead and the commitment to support each other was impressive.”

The Bank wants to follow developments and see how the picture has progressed in early 2018.