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Welby backs laws on cash laundering

29 November 2013

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken in support of attempts to tighten regulations covering money-laundering.

Speaking during the Report Stage of the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill in the House of Lords on Tuesday, Archbishop Welby said that "in my ten years' experience of dealing with conflict-management and mitigation work in Africa, it was particularly significant in the ways in which illegal regimes or militias managed to fund and supply themselves.

"My experience, particularly in some parts of Africa, has shown that London, over time, as one of the deepest and most liquid financial markets on earth, has, contrary to the impression given by many senior bankers, played a significant role; not through their collusion in any way at all, but because of its size, and the complexity of preventing it."

The tightening of the regulations was proposed in an amendment moved by Lord Eatwell, who withdrew it before the vote, to allow for a response from the Treasury, after opposition from the Government.

Archbishop Welby withdrew a number of his own amendments to the Bill, dealing with the separation of consumer banking from the ris-kier investment-banking activities dubbed "casino-banking", after the Government promised to introduce its own amendments at the Third Reading stage.

"The members [of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards] are delighted that the Government are broadly finding agreement with their recommendations," the Archbishop told peers.

Lord Sharkey withdrew an amendment that would have required a cap to be set on the cost of payday loans, after the Government promised that it would introduce its own amendment at Third Reading, which would require the Financial Conduct Authority to cap the cost of payday loans.

"The Government wholeheartedly agree that consumers must be protected when they borrow from payday lenders and use other high-cost forms of credit," the Treasury Minister Lord Newby told peers. "Payday lenders are causing unacceptable consumer harm, and the Government are committed to putting that right."

The Government suffered a defeat on Tuesday evening after the Lords agreed by five votes to an amendment from Lord Eatwell, requiring a licensing scheme for senior bankers to ensure compliance with professional standards.

The Report stage of the Bill was continuing on Wednesday afternoon.

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