“The last Labour Government didn’t regulate the banks properly. That’s what caused the financial crisis” – not my words but those of the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband MP. Mr Miliband and his Ministerial colleagues in government allowed the banks to operate unchecked at a greedy and reckless pace and then coerced the taxpayer into footing a bill that ultimately led our nation to mount up historic debts with which this Government now has the invidious task of grappling with.
Labour has brought Great Britain to the brink of bankruptcy before, it has done it again but now Conservatives in government are determined to ensure that they cannot get away with it in the future. Since coming to power in May 2010, the Government has shown a tough determination and implemented a number of reforms to tackle the culture of bad practices in the banking sector.
A brand new watchdog is being introduced with new powers to keep our banks safe so they cannot bring down the UK economy again. There is now a new law to separate the branch on the high street from the dealing floor in the City to protect taxpayers when mistakes are made. Ministers have started, with the industry, changing the whole culture and ethics of the business, so they work for you and now customers are going to be given the most powerful weapon of all: choice.
In opposition, Conservatives emphasised that overwhelming coverage would result in the regulatory body taking its eye off the ball. Now the previous Government’s tripartite regulatory system (where regulation was split between the Bank of England, the Financial Services Authority and the Treasury) which did not work is being abolished. Underlying problems were not identified in a system characterised by confusion and omission. Instead, the Government is putting the Bank of England back in charge, with a Financial Conduct Authority to regulate business conduct. The changes will provide regulators with comprehensive powers to counter future risks to financial stability and ensure that consumers are treated fairly.
I believe that it is right for banks to make a fair contribution to the public purse. That is why the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, has introduced a permanent bank levy which will raise £2.5 billion a year. This is more than the one-off bonus tax introduced by the last Government.
The resultant change is clear: no more rewards for failure. No more too big to fail. No more taxpayers forking out for the mistakes of others.