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Cash for questions?! Bank of England boss quizzed by students

By Jonathan Blake
Newsbeat Political Editor in Coventry

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He's used to being grilled by politicians and world leaders.

But Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, has faced what he called a much "tougher and more interesting" test - from school students.

Pupils at Whitley Academy in Coventry had half an hour to ask Mr Carney whatever they liked.

The result was an interesting, if not hugely revealing, insight into one of the most powerful and influential men in Britain.

He started by dishing out the new £5 note to the audience and promising with a wink that anyone who asked a "nice" question could keep one.


An early question from the audience of BBC News School Reporters threw up a gift to headline writers and critics of the governor everywhere.

"What was your nickname when you were younger?"

After hesitating for a while he said: "I was given nicknames that were variants of my last name which is Carney, so I was called Carnival, or Carnage, or things like that.

"I like Carnage a little better than Carnival. It seemed a little more manly I guess."

And people picked up on it straight away.

Brexit battle

This was never going to be a no holds barred session drilling down into monetary policy but Mr Carney did give us a few morsels of intrigue.

His toughest day in the job? The night and morning after Brexit.

It was "a challenge" he said, to make sure the plan the bank had in place for ensuring the UK economy didn't wobble too much as a result was put to work.

The financial nerd in him couldn't resist the admission that it was "interesting" to see how the vote to leave the EU played out.

media captionAll you need to know about Bank of England Governor Mark Carney

Spend or save

"Why bother saving money in the bank?" one pupil asked, when interest rates are so low.

Good question, the adults in the audience thought as they raised eyebrows waiting for a response.

The governor took it head on though, proudly reminding us all that just yesterday he and his colleagues had taken the decision to hold the base rate at 0.25%.

He suggested banks are safe places if you're saving for a "big purchase", like a Wii console or a bike.

(Someone should tell him about the NX).

Managing money

It might be reassuring (or not) to know that the man charged with keeping the UK economy buoyant has made mistakes with his own money in the past.

He admitted he'd missed out on the best mortgage and loan deals because he didn't "shop around" enough.

And he suggested investing money in equity funds (where a bank buys and sells shares in companies on your behalf) would've been a better long term option than cash savings, but added the warning it could be "risky" too.

The quickfire round from host Tina Daheley threw up some interesting results.

Q: What's your dream job?

media captionPizza, dogs and Bake Off: what Mark Carney really likes

Ice-hockey goalie (he's Canadian)

Q: What TV programme is your guilty pleasure?

Great British Bake-Off (him too!)

Q: Favourite food?


Q: Cats or dogs?

Dogs, but I have a cat (he said he was outvoted by his family)

And finally: Q: Skepta or Craig David?

He passed and suggested "The Specials" - cue blank looks from the audience.

Perhaps the best question was asked early on: Why is your job relevant to young people like us?

Mr Carney summed it up nicely by saying: "If I do my job properly, you don't have to worry."

The audience seemed to believe him.

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Related Topics

  • Life
  • UK economy
  • Students
  • Mark Carney
  • European Union
  • Bank of England
  • Money