I listened carefully to the shadow Minister’s speech, and it is quite true that the public mood is one of wishing to see both a just return on its forced investment in the banking industry and the banking sector—particularly the state-owned and subsidised banking sector—making its contribution to the recovery, in view of what happened in 2008 and 2009.
I remember in 2007 and 2008 being in dispute with the then Government, because I felt they were setting up a banking crisis that we could have avoided, but unfortunately my voice was not listened to; they did not take action on interest rates and money market conditions to prevent the crisis. When it started, I think I was the only MP who said, “Do not give all this money to the banks.” I felt it was wrong to buy shares in the banks and to support the bondholders. I thought we had a duty to the depositors and individuals who were tied up with the banks, but not to those who had financed and run the banks in those conditions. Unfortunately, the decision was made to embark on a massive subsidisation and share-buying programme, which the previous Government did. So we are where we are, and I think that we all agree that what we wish to do now is get the maximum value we can out of the banks that are subsidised or in state ownership, because that would make the public feel better about it. Surely, now is the time when those state-owned and state-subsidised banks should make their fuller contribution to the recovery, after their role in the recent crash.