Opinion Former Article

FSB: Government must not ‘water down' banking reform

The National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), John Walker, has written an open letter to the Prime Minister urging him not to ‘water down' proposals on banking reform, due be released next week.

In the letter, Mr Walker urges the Prime Minister not to prejudge the findings of next week's publication of the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) report and not to make decisions based solely on the views of a small, albeit highly influential group.

The ICB report was commissioned by the Government to honour a pledge in the Conservative Party General Election Manifesto in which it said it would ‘reform the regulation and structure of the banking system'.

In recent weeks the banking lobby has predictably claimed proposals would have a detrimental effect on the economy. However, as the letter points out, a recent survey has found that 71 per cent of influential City figures believe that it would be a bad idea if the Government took no action.

Furthermore, Mr Walker questions how the most recent debate – led by the banks – has omitted to talk about the issue of competition. The FSB has called for more competition in the sector for many years and believes that the Financial Conduct Authority should be given powers to promote competition to ensure that small businesses are given a fair deal.

John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

"Having commissioned a report into the banking sector, it is very disappointing that the Government is now looking to water down the findings before the ICB has even reported. We were promised radical reform, but it now appears that this has been downgraded to ‘light touch' regulation after 2015, if we are lucky. This is simply not good enough.

"Small businesses have had a tough time at the hands of the banking sector – with more than a third of businesses missing their growth opportunity as a result of being refused credit.

"The Government courted businesses with promises of reform and it is time that they stood by those promises. Without urgent and radical reform the banking system will never change and those businesses needed to help pull the recovery onto firmer ground will be left to struggle."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. The FSB is the UK's leading business organisation with more than 200,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the self-employed, and all those who run their own business. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk

2. To view a copy of the letter go to www.fsb.org.uk

3. A recent survey by Politics Home found that 71 per cent of city figures believed that it would be a ‘bad idea' for the Government to do nothing on banking reform.


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Contacts

Andrew Cave, Chief Spokesperson: 07917 628991
Prue Watson: 020 7592 8121 / 07825 125 695 prue.watson@fsb.org.uk
Sara Lee: 020 7592 8113/ 07595 067068 sara.lee@fsb.org.uk

For regional FSB contacts please go to www.fsb.org.uk/regions

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