LONDON (Reuters) - The Bank of England has paid out “staggering” sums on expenses to two members of its Financial Policy Committee (FPC), a lawmaker from a top parliament committee said on Tuesday.
U.S.-based policymakers Anil Kashyap and Donald Kohn had between them accumulated 390,000 pounds ($516,000) in travel expenses over two-and-a-half years, said Simon Clarke, a Conservative lawmaker on the Treasury Committee.
Clarke said this echoed 2009 when politicians’ extravagant expense claims sparked outrage across Britain, which at that time was in the middle of a recession.
Kashyap and Kohn are external members of the FPC, which monitors the stability of Britain’s financial system.
“One of the most important aspects of the culture of any public institution is that it provides value for money to the taxpayer,” Clarke said.
“Mr Kohn and Mr Kashyap have incurred 390,000 pounds in travel expenses, which is a simply staggering sum. Do you think that’s a sensible use of the Bank’s resources,” he asked the new chair of the BoE’s court of directors, Bradley Fried.
“I can certainly say that my constituents would be gobsmacked (surprised) to hear that Mr Kashyap for example (had) one return flight from Chicago to London for a meeting in February this year (that) cost 11,084.89 pounds,” Clarke said.
Late on Tuesday, a BoE spokesman said further checks into Kashyap’s 11,000 pound expense claim showed it covered two trips from Chicago to London, rather than one as the central bank had initially reported.
Fried said the contributions of Kohn and Kashyap to the FPC had been “tremendous”.
“I can’t quite work out a formulaic assessment of value for money against their participation versus the travel expenses, but I hear exactly what you say,” Fried said, adding that the BoE would dwell on this.
BoE records show Kohn, a former vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, has claimed 274,568 pounds in expenses between December 2015 and February 2018.
Kashyap, a professor of economics and finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, has claimed 116,742 pounds between October 2016 and February 2018.
Kashyap and Kohn are external members of the FPC, brought in for their experience outside the BoE.
The expenses of external FPC members who are based in Britain are miniscule by comparison.
The records show business executive Martin Taylor has claimed 733.96 pounds in expenses since December 2015, while investment banker Richard Sharp has yet to claim any expenses over the same period.
Additional reporting by Anu Shukla; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Louise Heavens