My Lords, I must congratulate the Government on their courage in recognising not just the need to reform regulation and the regulatory system, which certainly was not fit for purpose, but to go beyond that to recognise the need to restructure the banking industry in the teeth of a lot of opposition from the industry itself, although a stronger case certainly needs to be made fully to convince all of us that ring fencing is a better strategy than division of the banks.
I shall ask the Minister two questions arising out of today. He talked a moment ago about a new regulatory system bringing together micro and macro, which is what we all wish to see, but he will be aware of the remarks made today by the Governor of the Bank of England, which were quoted in the Daily Telegraph, about reducing the burden of routine collection and focusing on the major risks to the system. He will know that the system collapsed in large part because securitisation and derivatives were piled on top of mortgage loans that were faulty and very often fraudulent. It was the failure to see the link between the micro and the macrosystemic that led to the crisis that we saw. Will he make sure that we do not now have a swing back in the other direction in regulation to systemic ignoring the relevance of the micro?
On the return of banks to private ownership, which is something we all wish to see, will he give some assurances that serious consideration will be given to schemes such as that proposed by my colleague Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West, which would involve a distribution of shares in part to the public in order that they may gain some of the upside? The Treasury would still receive its funding, but on a deferred basis. Would he agree that UK Financial Investments, being a very silo organisation, is not likely to appreciate the potential benefits of that much wider engagement with the public, sharing upside reward with people who have suffered from the crisis?