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Bank of England chief economist Huw Pill regrets urging people to accept they are poorer

Bank of England chief economist Huw Pill regrets urging people to accept they are poorer

Mr Pill's comments signal the most recent interest rate rise may be the last for now.
The Bank of England's top economist has expressed regret for saying people need to accept being poorer.

Speaking on a podcast last month the chief economist at the Bank said there's a "reluctance to accept that yes, we're all worse off and we all have to take our share", due to inflation making goods more expensive.

"Somehow in the UK, someone needs to accept that they're worse off and stop trying to maintain their real spending power by bidding up prices, whether higher wages or passing the energy costs through onto customers," Huw Pill had said.

Speaking on Monday evening, however, Mr Pill stepped back from his comments.

"If I had the chance again to use different words I would use somewhat different words to describe the challenges we all face," he said.

The "viral response" to the remarks "perhaps hasn't been very helpful", Mr Pill added, to the understanding of inflation and higher interest rates imposed to combat price rises.

Mr Pill said he and the Bank of England "do recognise that we live in very difficult and challenging times".

"Those challenges are particularly acute for some parts of society".

But Mr Pill said it was part of his job to be upfront about economic problems: "I appreciate this is a little bit of a tough message, but... having to pay more for what we're buying from the rest of the world relative to what we're selling to the world is a squeeze on our spending power."

Interest rates have been risen to 4.5% by the Bank, making borrowing more expensive, in an effort to dampen growth and lower persistent double-digit inflation to the regulator's 2% target.

Addressing the central bank's programme of 12 consecutive interest rate rises, Mr Pill signalled the latest rise may be the last for now.

He "hopes" the Bank has sufficiently upped rates and said "I'd like to think that we have done enough".

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