New Bank of England policymaker Ian McCafferty resisted attempts on Tuesday to pin down his preferences on monetary policy, saying his decision about further economic stimulus would hinge on more evidence about the health of the economy.
McCafferty was making his first public appearance since replacing arch-dove Adam Posen on the BoE's nine-strong Monetary Policy Committee, and members of parliament's Treasury Select Committee were keen to see what approach the new policymaker would take.
However, McCafferty, who most recently served as the Confederation of British Industry's chief economic advisor, resisted attempts to pigeonhole him as someone who was more focused on either inflation or broader growth concerns.
"I am neither a hawk or dove. I will be looking at the evidence in each meeting, on the basis on the best data that we have, to make a decision on the basis of current policy."
This applied to McCafferty's views about further expansion to the BoE's asset purchase programme. The central bank embarked on a further 50 billion pounds ($80 billion) of British government bond purchases in July, which will take total purchases to 375 billion pounds by November.
"We are ... in a position of significant uncertainty about quite where the economy is at this stage," he said, citing the one-off hit to output from an extra public holiday in the second quarter that helped to drag the economy deeper into recession.
"As a result I would like to see more evidence before I would make any decision on whether QE needs to be extended further or not," he added.
McCafferty also said external factors such as the euro zone debt crisis and a slowdown in the United States and China were posing a risk to Britain's economic outlook and the uncertainty kept many businesses from investing.
The new policymaker threw his support behind the government's flagship austerity programme, which aims to largely eliminate the budget deficit over the next five years.
Here McCafferty made clear he thought that finance minister George Osborne should stick to his current plan.
"He needs to maintain the austerity programme because otherwise ... there are risks that we will see disruption in the financial markets and that would steepen the yield curve and significantly damage what we are trying to do at the bank," he said.
(Additional reporting by Limei Hoang, Alessandra Rizzo and Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)