Bank chief Sir Mervyn King in visit to Smethwick steel firm

The Governor of the Bank of England was told of the challenges facing industry when he visited the headquarters of a Black Country steel group at the start of a two-day tour of the region.

Stewart Towe CBE, managing director of Hadley Group, Smethwick, with governor of Bank of England Sir Mervyn King
Stewart Towe CBE, managing director of Hadley Group, Smethwick, with governor of Bank of England Sir Mervyn King

Sir Mervyn King met Hadley Group chairman and managing director Stewart Towe at the company’s Downing Street base in Smethwick yesterday afternoon.

Mr Towe, who is also chairman of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership and High Sheriff of the West Midlands, gave Sir Mervyn an overview of his industry and the issues it was facing.

“I stressed the importance of funds being made available to small and medium-sized businesses,” he said. “I told Sir Mervyn that we don’t want more quantitative easing that is gobbled up by banks and that new funding needs to be out in the market place.

“The Funding for Lending rules need to be enforced in all areas.”

The Hadley Group, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, is the largest British-owned producer of cold rolled steel sections and allied products.

It employs more than 380 people across the Sandwell borough, with an annual turnover around £100 million. The Wolverhampton-educated governor, who is to retire in June, was this morning speaking at a private breakfast meeting at Villa Park before visiting Great Barr School to meet secondary pupils, and then attending a Black Country Chamber of Commerce lunch at the Holiday Inn in Walsall.

This afternoon he will be finishing his tour at the headquarters of construction business Shaylor Group at Anchor Brook Business Park in Aldridge.

Wolverhampton-educated Sir Mervyn, who celebrates his 65th birthday on March 30, will be succeeded at the bank by Canadian Mark Carney.