Markets and Morality

Proposed banking reforms will not save the system


Press Release

Dr Steve Davies comments on the latest OECD figures


James Croft comments on Nick Clegg's pronouncements

Mark Littlewood comments on the proposed reforms

Commenting on Vince Cable’s assertions today that banking reform will go ahead, Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“These proposed reforms will not safeguard banks, but will instead merely raise the cost to the consumer for retail banking.

“Vince Cable is right to assert that taxpayers should not be liable for any future banking collapse. But he is wrong to think that ‘ring fencing’ of retail and investments banks will make much difference. Northern Rock was a retail bank without an investment arm, Lehman Brothers an investment bank without a retail arm. Ring fencing would have saved neither. Banks – like any other business – must be allowed to go bust without bringing down the wider economy. It is difficult to see how the current proposals would allow this to happen.

“At a time when economic growth is exceptionally fragile, it would be highly damaging to force through any reforms which will increase the cost of banking for customers or make credit harder to obtain for businesses. The government must allow the economy to flourish if growth is to return – further interference and ever more regulation simply will choke any chance of recovery.”

Notes to editors

To arrange an interview with Mark Littlewood, IEA Director General, please contact Stephanie Lis, Communications Officer, 020 7799 8900, [email protected].

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties