By Aditi Khanna
London, Oct 18 (PTI) Sushil Wadhwani, an Indian-origin investment expert is among four financial specialists appointed to a new Economic Advisory Council by UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to meet regularly and act as a consultative forum to offer independent advice to the government.
Wadhwani, who heads up PGIM Wadhwani asset management firm as Chief Investment Officer and has over 30 years of investment experience, has been a former member of the Bank of England’s independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
He will join Gertjan Vlieghe of Element Capital, who has also been a member of the MPC, and Rupert Harrison of BlackRock and Karen Ward of JP Morgan Asset Management, who have experience of working with past UK finance ministers.
Announcing the measure in the House of Commons on Monday evening, Hunt said the group will provide "more independent expert advice" to ministers.
“I look forward to working with such an esteemed group of economic experts, whose advice will be invaluable,” said Hunt.
“In a period of global economic challenge and volatility, exacerbated by [Russian President] Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, prioritising UK economic stability is vital and will underpin long-term growth,” he said.
The announcement comes as the Chancellor, parachuted in last week by British Prime Minister Liz Truss to replace sacked Kwasi Kwarteng, committed to do “whatever is necessary for economic stability” as he reversed almost all of his predecessor’s mini-budget tax cuts in an emergency fiscal statement on Monday.
The UK Treasury said all members of the new council, to be expanded in due course, will be attending in an independent capacity and have been chosen for their “personal knowledge and expertise”, as relevant to advising the government on the UK economy.
Care will be taken to ensure Council members are not privy to any material non- public information, or market sensitive information, the Treasury said.
In his Commons statement on Monday, Jeremy Hunt also indicated more potential U-turns as he took questions from MPs, saying he was "not against the principle" of windfall taxes on highly profitable energy giants – something Truss repeatedly ruled out during her leadership campaign.
"I am not against the principle of taxing profits that are genuine windfalls. We have said that nothing is off the table," Hunt said in response to a question from Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey.
"I'm not making any commitments on any individual policy areas, but every decision we take, will be taken through the prism of what matters most, to the most vulnerable," he said. PTI AK RUP RUP