Andrew G Haldane: Climbing the jobs ladder

Speech by Mr Andrew G Haldane, Executive Director and Chief Economist of the Bank of England, Scunthorpe, 23 July 2019.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
13 August 2019

It is fantastic to be here at Glanford Park Stadium, home of Scunthorpe United Football Club. I remember as a boy learning about how Liverpool legends Kevin Keegan and Ray Clemence started their careers here. Cricketing legend Sir Ian Botham started (and ended) his professional football career here too. A couple of weeks ago, my home town Guiseley entertained Scunthorpe in a pre-season friendly. Scunthorpe won 2-0.

Off the football pitch, it has not been all wins for Scunthorpe recently. Problems at the British Steel plant in the town have put at risk the jobs of 5,000 workers and a further 20,000 in its supply chain.1 Hopefully, a new buyer can be found and jobs in the town and beyond can be assured. This is the latest chapter in what has been a long and sometimes painful story for the UK steel industry recently. It has been a recurrent theme of my visits around the UK, including in Redcar and Port Talbot.

The loss of signature industries can leave lasting social and economic scars - jobs lost, families disrupted, communities decimated. It is a pattern we see repeated across many industries in many advanced economies. It has been a key cause of the disaffection and disconnection felt by many and a potent polarising force in our politics, policies and societies. This polarisation is also a potent force shaping the fortunes of our economies, as I will go on to discuss.