The Bank of England’s mission is to promote the good of the people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary and financial stability.
That mission starts with the most recognisable of the Bank’s responsibilities – maintaining public confidence in the bank notes we all carry in our pockets and wallets. The Bank designs and issues durable, high quality bank notes, containing advanced security features that are easy to check and resilient to counterfeiting.
But confidence in our money is about more than just the bank notes we use. It is also about protecting the value of that money over time, so that households and businesses can plan, invest, save and spend with confidence. The Bank plays a vital role in maintaining this confidence through its monetary stability objective.
That objective is to deliver low and stable prices, and is defined by the Government set inflation target of a 2 per cent year-over-year increase in the Consumer Prices Index. Decisions to achieve that objective are taken by the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
As the financial crisis revealed, however, price stability alone is not enough to ensure overall economic stability. Financial stability – public trust and confidence in financial institutions, markets, infrastructure, and the system as a whole – is just as important.
In the wake of the crisis, the Bank has been given several important responsibilities for maintaining financial stability.
To promote the safety and soundness of individual financial firms, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) of the Bank regulates and supervises roughly 1,700 banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and major investment firms.
To protect and enhance the resilience of the UK financial system as a whole, the Bank’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) works to remove or reduce systemic risks. In short, this means working to prevent future financial crises, or reduce their frequency and severity.
The Bank of England also fulfils several other financial stability roles:
- We regulate and oversee key payment, clearing and settlement systems.
- We act as lender and market maker of last resort at times of financial stress;
- We work to safely resolve failing financial institutions.
While the Bank’s responsibilities may be broad and wide-ranging, there are important benefits to having them housed within a single institution. Many of these responsibilities require common skills, information and analysis to fulfil. And there are often strong interactions among them, which require consistent, timely decision-making and effective management of any trade-offs.
The Bank’s job is to fulfil all of these responsibilities by working together in a coordinated way. By doing so, we can maximise the impact of each of our policies – always with a single, timeless mission in mind – to promote the good of the people of the United Kingdom