Goodbye and good luck, you'll certainly need it

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Mervyn King
Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King appears before the Treasury Select Committee. Photo: PA Wire

Mervyn King has just finished up his final appearance in front of MPs and the overall message was pretty gloomy.

Mervyn King was critical of governments for failing to make fundamental changes to the economy during the period when interest rates have been so low and money printing has been busily keeping the economy afloat.

He is politely frustrated that the government has not moved that quickly on "supply side reform" - the central bank's way of describing taxation or rules and regulation.

Despite market jitters, he was clear that the end of quantitative easing is not in sight because the economy is nowhere near strong enough to have the support withdrawn.

And unhappily for families and businesses, the Bank also warned this morning that inflation is likely to stay high, above its 2% target, for at least the next couple of years.

Mark Carney
The incoming governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has issued a warning over interest rates. Credit: Alastair Grant/PA Wire

Like the incoming governor, Mark Carney, who has warned this morning that there will come a time, probably later rather than sooner, when interest rates go back to something like normal, King said that if levels of debt hadn't been sorted out before rates go back up then we're in for some serious trouble.

He also said that the banks lobbied extremely hard with calls to Number 10 and Number 11 Downing Street during the process where the new regulators were trying to work out the size of the black hole in the banking sector. And he said that the potential credit crisis in China could have very serious consequences.

King said he did not 'resile' from anything he had said in the past, even though John Mann MP attempted to embarrass him with a list of his previous statements and predictions that had turned out to be misplaced.

But he hardly leaves behind him a very happy inheritance.