Banking Bill

Part of Consolidated Fund Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:31 pm on 17th December 2008.

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Photo of Andrew Pelling Andrew Pelling Independent, Croydon Central 2:31 pm, 17th December 2008

I wish to declare some of my interests. I hope that NatWest will continue to provide me with its overdraft. I am a Royal Bank of Scotland pensioner, prospectively, and I hope that it will be able to pay out on that pension. More importantly, I have an interest in the City, working for Tokai Tokyo Securities, which covers some borrowers in the markets, including, now, some of the UK banks.

When one sits down here in solitary at the end of the Chamber, there is a danger of having over-profound thoughts, but I want first to make some more fundamental remarks about the implications of the Bill. Over time, the Government undertook an excellent preparation for the Bill as regards the consultation that went with it. That was a useful process that means that it will be robust in terms of dealing with the crises that will come next year. We would all hope that it will not be necessary to employ this legislation, but it is inevitable that there will be further nationalisations with the oncoming second leg of the financial crisis after Christmas.

The Bill gives additional powers to the Bank of England. It has to be asked, bearing in mind the significant failures in recent years, whether that is the right route to take. I appreciate that we have to work with the institutions that we have, and that there is only so much progress to be made by criticising the Bank and the FSA. However, the Bill represented an opportunity to give the Bank responsibilities for asset prices; obviously, that concern will now be on the downward side rather than on the upward side. The Bill should also have given more support to maintaining the banking department of the Bank of England, which is being wound down, rather extraordinarily at this time of a banking crisis. An opportunity should have been taken—

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