Bank of England boss hails the major, positive lesson he learnt from visiting Hull

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 11 Mar 2019

A Bank of England boss who visited Hull said his trip highlighted how the city has become a "success story".

Andy Haldane, the Bank’s chief economist, last week met with schoolchildren, university students, business leaders and members of the public as part of a visit to Hull.

His trip gave the city’s people a chance to voice their worries about the region, as well as grill some of the country’s top policy makers.

Transport, Brexit and skills shortages were some of the most common concerns raised by Hull people - but he said the big thing that he took away was how Hull is on the up.

Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, speaking in Hull on Thursday morning (Neil Holmes)

Speaking to Hull Live, Mr Haldane said: “The people we have spoken to have been very well informed and insightful, and there have been some brilliant questions.

“The main topics that came up probably will not come as a surprise, but what did come through was that Hull is a success story.

Read more: Bank of England boss speaks out ahead of Hull's Citizens' Panel

“That was absolutely underscored – people feel very upbeat about how things are going in the city. I think that is partly because Hull is shouting louder, and partly that we are listening more intently.”

On Wednesday evening, Hull became the first city to host a Citizens’ Panel as the Bank of England gave people the chance to speak out, and transport came high on the list of peoples’ concerns.

Common fears surrounded the region’s rail and road links, the impact of Brexit, skills shortages in sectors including engineering and construction, and the lack of a long-term energy policy.

Hull hosted the first Citizens' Panel on Wednesday evening (Bank of England)

Much has been talked about in recent months and years about the city’s road and rail network, and the need for change.

Work on the £400m Castle Street scheme is set to get underway later this year, at the same time as Hull Trains is expected to unveil its new £60m fleet of Hitachi trains.

Bus company EYMS also this week revealed plans to invest £6m over the next two years, with new buses and a rebrand on the cards.

The announcements go some way to addressing the issue, but there is a view that more needs to be done to improve transport in the region.

How the new £12m footbridge will look over Castle Street

Mr Haldane said: “The transport concern is not a message unique to Hull. It is fair to say the singularity of Hull does not fit the aspirations of the city.

“It is unfortunately hard to find anywhere in the country where it is easy to travel from east to west.”

The Bank’s chief economist said concerns had been raised over the skills gap in both the engineering and construction sector in Hull, but said again this was not an issue unique to the city.

Watch: The £400m Castle Street scheme in Hull

Mr Haldane’s trip to Hull was led by the Yorkshire & Humber branch of the Bank of England.

Juliette Healey, an agent at the branch, said: “We chose Hull for the first Citizens’ Panel because Hull is a great city, and a key city in Yorkshire, and we wanted to take Andy there.

“Hull has felt a bit neglected in the past, and felt at the end of the line, so hopefully this is a way of saying we are listening to what people in the city have to say."

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