Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, said: “I am grateful to everyone who has been in touch with me this week concerning the climate change implications of the Bank’s policies on lending during the Covid Crisis, including the issue of resetting the benchmark for the Bank’s purchases of corporate bonds.
The Bank has a strong commitment to the goals of combatting the adverse effects of climate change, and in particular the net zero target. The Covid 19 crisis has not changed that commitment. But, the crisis has required hard decisions to be taken on competing priorities. The Bank’s lending to companies as part of the emergency response to Covid 19 has not incorporated a test based on climate considerations. This was deliberate, because in such a grave emergency affecting this country we have focused on the immediate priority of supporting the jobs and livelihoods of the people of this country. We believe that the Bank’s duty to the people of this country requires such a difficult choice to be made, but it will not change our commitment to the goals of countering climate change. Likewise, when the pressure on our resources abates, we will turn to important issues such as the benchmark for our corporate bond portfolio.”