Bank reform Bill passes through Parliament

13 December 2013


THE Government's Bill to reform the banking sector in light of the financial crisis of 2008 was expected to complete its parliamentary passage on Wednesday night, during a "ping-pong" session, at which the Bill would pass between the House of Commons and House of Lords to confirm final amendments.

By the time the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill had completed its passage through the Lords late on Monday, it had grown from 29 pages, when it was introduced to the Commons in February, to about 200 pages.

Many of the changes were introduced by the Government in the Lords to take account of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on Banking Standards, which included the Archbishop of Canterbury among its members.

In a short debate in the Lords on the Banking Commission's five reports last week, Archbishop Welby summarised why he believed that reform was needed.

"In 2008, the Chancellor of the Exchequer found himself faced late one night with the choice of commitment of large sums of money - hundreds of billions of pounds - or of the collapse of almost everything in our society that makes money real," Archbishop Welby told peers. "In the years since, scandal after scandal has become apparent. Out of these vast events arose what was described as 'a profound loss of trust born of profound lapses in banking standards'."

He described one banker who "had borne the whole weight of it on his shoulders and suffered greatly as a result. There was no lack of responsibility from him. When asked if, in the depths of the night, he looked back and thought that he might have done differently, he said that you can have a big simple bank or a small complicated bank; you cannot have a big complicated bank. He said that if he had his time again, he would have kept it simple."

The Archbishop resisted calls from peers for the Commission to continue its work.

During the debate, a number of peers paid tribute to the work of Archbishop Welby on the Commission. Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville said that Archbishop Welby was "playing a blinder".

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