The Economy

Part of Council Tax Rebate – in the House of Commons at 4:59 pm on 31st March 2009.

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Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 4:59 pm, 31st March 2009

The implication of the right hon. Gentleman's argument is that some sort of clearing house is needed internationally to create a market for those products. As I understand it, that has been agreed in principle. There is a particular problem with one type of derivative—credit default swaps—but most of the others, contrary to some pessimistic expectations, have not exploded in the way that was feared. Certainly, in that respect, effective international co-operation is needed.

In addition to the broader point on regulation, we may draw several conclusions from Lord Turner's work, one of which is that he, like the Prime Minister, bottled out of answering the question whether the banks should be split into their relatively low-risk utility operations and what the Governor of the Bank of England calls their casinos. In practice, in a world of rather complicated financial products, that split is technically difficult to achieve, but the principle is right. I am pleased that the Opposition parties are of the same mind on that matter, and I think that many Labour Back Benchers take the same view. I am utterly perplexed as to why the Prime Minister, uniquely, seems to be standing in the way of such a reform.

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