'Don't ask for a big pay rise': Fury at message from 500k Bank boss to struggling Brits

4 February 2022, 10:11 | Updated: 4 February 2022, 12:56

The Governor of the Bank of England has been criticised for urging people not to ask for a pay rise while the UK is in the grips of a cost of living crisis
The Governor of the Bank of England has been criticised for urging people not to ask for a pay rise while the UK is in the grips of a cost of living crisis. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The Governor of the Bank of England has urged workers not to ask for big pay rises in order to control inflation - but he earns over half a million pounds a year.

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Andrew Bailey said the UK needed to see "some moderation of wage rises" - something he conceded was "painful" - in order to prevent inflation from "spreading".

"What we can do is try to prevent inflation spreading and becoming more engrained in the system," Mr Bailey told the BBC.

When asked if he was telling people not to ask for "too high" a pay rise, he said: "Broadly, yes."

Mr Bailey was paid £575,538, including pension, in the year from March 1 2020.

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Mr Bailey has been criticised for his comments, that come at a time when the UK is suffering a growing cost of living crisis.

Speaking to LBC earlier on Friday, Sir John Gieve, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, said he could "imagine people would take issue with the comments but defended the Governor.

"What he was trying to say was that in the past when inflation has really got going - as it did 30 years ago - it was because wages changed prices, that led firms to put up their own prices, and then you've got a spiral developing," he told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

'Now I'm being told I can be lent my own money over five years... It's ridiculous.'

But people have hit out at the Governor for his remarks, taking to social media to accuse him of blaming inflation on working people instead of "the greed of the already wealthy".

One LBC caller, John from Liverpool, said he was "fed up" and Mr Bailey should live "for one day" on the wages of an average person.

"It's alright these people coming on to your Nick and saying 'don't ask for pay rises'," he told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

"Get them down to the street level, let them come out for one day or a week, let them live with a person that's trying to bring up kids, they're trying to feed them... let them live on what they're earning, let them see.

"I'm fed up of this Government, Nick, I'm fed up."

He said people - including him - would be forced to turn to things like shoplifting in order to feed their children.

When Nick asked John when the last time the Governor of the Bank of England "had beans on toast", John said: "Exactly, Nick, exactly."

'Let them live for one day with a person that's trying to feed their kids!'

The cost of living in the UK has skyrocketed in recent months, driven by a number of factors including steep rises in gas prices and soaring inflation.

Yesterday, after the Bank of England doubled interest rates and Ofgem announced a 54 per cent increase in the energy price cap, Chancellor Rishi Sunk defended the support being offered by the Government which has been branded "puny" by opposition MPs.

The Chancellor outlined three ways in which the Government will help - £200 discounts on bills, a £150 council tax rebate for those with properties in bands A-D, and giving local authorities a discretionary fund of £150 million to "help those lower income households" who may live in higher council tax properties, or who are exempt altogether.

Labour MP and former minister Chris Bryant said the support would not "touch the sides of the problem" for his constituents.

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But Mr Sunak said people "understand we have to live within our means", adding" "I think they get that."

"I know this is probably the number one issue on most families' minds, you know - they're looking at the news, they're seeing prices go up, they're worried about the cost of living, and in particular energy, and that's why we're taking action," he said at a Downing St press conference on Thursday evening.

"I really believe that what we're doing, £350, it's a significant amount of money that will make a big difference to the vast majority of households, and I think people, I hope actually, will be reassured by us stepping in to provide that support to ease the adjustment that this is."