The hon. Gentleman raises an interesting point. I was about to make the point that Basel III strikes a balance between protecting the taxpayer and the state and promoting economic growth. I understand the banks have been lobbying to try to diminish some of the effects of holding extra capital. Indeed, when I met a representative from Lloyds Banking Group in Glasgow on Friday, he lobbied me to take that position.
What we have witnessed is a crisis that began in the housing and asset price markets in America. It spread to other countries and to the banks of other countries, and it has now also spread to the state. It is important that the taxpayer can see that there are buffers to prevent the state from having to bail out banks across the globe. Having a counter-cyclical element should help achieve that.
The Government should continue the work the previous Government did in pursuing the issue of getting a global deal on bankers' bonuses. If they do not, or if they are unable to achieve a global deal, the UK and the EU should be prepared to take a lead in giving greater transparency and reducing some of the terrible incentives to sharp practices in the last decade.
Across the world, we are seeing the terrible effects of a credit crunch causing a banking crisis, in turn causing a deficit crisis and then a growth crisis. In the coming months and years, we need to put in place a policy that sorts out the system for good. We need a policy that learns the lessons from the crisis and ensures the taxpayer never has to foot a huge bill for the terrible behaviour of a greedy few.