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Oversight Committee

Part of Financial Services Bill (Money) (No. 2) – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 10th December 2012.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Minister (Treasury) 7:30 pm, 10th December 2012

That is true. The Opposition take the view that the financial services sector needs to move away from the old model of essentially extracting profit on the basis either of the ignorance or lack of awareness of customers—basically taking advantage of the inertia in the system—or of the fact that the consumer has no other choice. We need to support a financial services sector that genuinely adds professional value and acumen to products fairly and transparently. That is the modern sort of financial services sector that this country deserves and can have. We need to get away from that old era, in which the banking system essentially raked in multiples of small penny packets of income and profit off the backs of people who were not necessarily aware they were being charged 25p or 50p for cash withdrawals. That is the sort of bad practice we need to move away from.

The Opposition have called for action to ensure that pockets of the country are not left isolated and on their own. In the United States, they have clear safeguards requiring banks to reinvest in communities and provide basic coverage. That counts not only for consumers, but for small businesses, which, as we know, also struggle to access affordable loans.