That really sums up the Opposition. All they can talk about is who sits where. They have no ideas on how to resolve this banking crisis.
I welcome the reviews by the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority into the prudential and conduct requirements for new entrants to ensure that they are appropriate and not disproportionate. However, as I have said, a more competitive banking market will work only if consumers are prepared to change banks. The Government are pleased with the progress on the industry-led initiative to make current account switching faster and easier for customers. Providers covering 97% of the current account market have signed up and the scheme is on track to be launched next September. However, to switch, customers need better information, so the Government welcome the fact that the Office of Fair Trading and the Financial Conduct Authority will take forward the ICB recommendation to improve transparency across all retail banking products. Work is already under way on a number of projects, such as making account data available to customers electronically, to enable them to shop around.
Financial stability is a prerequisite for growth. Our analysis suggests that the proposals in the White Paper will cost, in gross domestic product terms, in the region of £0.6 to £1.4 billion per annum. However, that should be compared with the estimate that the 2007 to 2009 crisis has already cost the UK economy £140 billion, which is one hundred times the maximum cost estimate of our proposals.
The proposals, although ambitious in scale, are proportionate in impact. They will promote financial stability while supporting sustainable growth and making the UK’s role as the world’s leading international financial centre secure. The reforms we are announcing today, together with the changes we are making to the regulatory architecture, demonstrate that the Government are determined to take action to deliver a stable and sustainable banking sector that underpins rather than undermines economic growth. I commend this statement to the House.