Bank of England representative says 'heroic' Corby has 'strong sense of community' after hosting roundtable with volunteers

Alex Brazier (fourth from right) hosts the roundtable in Corby yesterday
Alex Brazier (fourth from right) hosts the roundtable in Corby yesterday

Corby is home to 'heroic' volunteers and has a 'strong sense of community' a Bank of England representative has said after holding a roundtable with some of the town's charities.

Alex Brazier is a member of the Bank of England's financial policy committee – the sister committee to the monetary policy committee – where he leads a team that helps identify and tackle the financial risks in the economy and avoid a repeat of the 2008 economic crash.

On Tuesday (May 14), Mr Brazier held a roundtable with about a dozen third sector representatives from the Corby area, the second of its kind after the bank hosted another with the bank's governor Mark Carney in Scotland last month.

The community forum helps the bank listen to more people's views and inform policies.

"What was really striking around the table was how strong the sense of community is in Corby," said Mr Brazier.

"I was really struck by people needing no encouragement to say how rich in support the community is.

"It was humbling for me; they do heroic work helping people who are disadvantaged."

Despite that positive, Mr Brazier did note a couple of concerns during the discussion.

He said there was an issue around funding for voluntary groups, be it in the form of grants from the Government, local authorities or charitable organisations.

And despite positive employment figures, he believes they don't paint a full picture.

"It's a struggle to keep funding going and people have devoted a lot of time to keep services going," said Mr Brazier.

"On the face of it, Corby is doing well – the unemployment rate is around the national average – but the numbers only tell us so much.

"People rely on agency work and as a result there is a degree of insecurity."

If residents are working part-time or on contracts with short termination notices, they are more at risk should sudden financial changes occur in their lives.

"It can be difficult to get a mortgage or plan for the future," added Mr Brazier.

"So people can be pretty vulnerable, which is how they end up engaging with the charities."

Mr Brazier said he will continue to engage with the organisations he met with because that, in turn, helps the Bank of England in its decision-making process.

"That we have a complete picture of what's going on really helps us when we come to making decisions.

"It reinforces to me the importance of what we do.

"My job is to stop a repeat of a financial crash.

"When the Government has to cut back the people who are the hardest hit are the most vulnerable in society."

His team run the annual stress test on the UK banks, monitor credit bubbles and closely watch how the housing market is performing and he leads work in preparing for any eventuality from Brexit.

Also part of Mr Brazier's job at the Bank of England is to plan efficiently for any possible outcome of Brexit.

"I think our perspective is not to decide what form Brexit takes, it's to prepare the financial system to deal with it.

"We have been preparing for a disorderly Brexit so that regular people can access financial services."