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Banking Reform

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 1:18 pm on 17th June 2010.

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Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 1:18 pm, 17th June 2010

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that question. He has been a distinguished member of the Select Committee on the Treasury and has taken part in many discussions in that Committee and in Public Bill Committees when we have explored some of these issues. I sense that he is much more engaged in the need for reform than his colleagues on the Front Bench.

The Banking Commission is important and it is vital that we ensure that we learn some of the lessons that arise from the structure of the UK banking system. We have a very concentrated banking structure and three out of the four principal banks in the UK are universal banks. We need to understand what risks flow from that and how best to tackle those risks, as well as considering the impact of competition in the banking sector. The appointment yesterday of Sir John Vickers as chairman of the commission has been greeted with warm applause across the business and consumer community. There are four other commissioners- Martin Wolf, Martin Taylor, Clare Spottiswoode and Bill Winters-who are equally distinguished in their own fields. The commission will provide the opportunity for a proper debate about the structure of banking in this county-a debate in which the former Prime Minister and former Chancellor did not want to participate. We think that it is time to have that debate and when we have had it, that will help remove the uncertainty about the structure of banking in the UK.

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