Strike off irresponsible bankers: British opposition leader

11th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Bankers in Britain who behave irresponsibly should be thrown out of the profession, the leader of the opposition Labour party said Sunday ahead of the publication of plans for a major shake-up of the sector.

Ed Miliband told The Sunday Times newspaper the public believed that bankers had got off lightly despite taking much of the blame for causing the global financial crisis of 2008.

Bankers who take unacceptable risks or dishonestly sell products should be banned from working in the financial sector in the same way that British doctors can be struck off the medical register and barred from practising, he urged.

"Frankly, I think the industry should take some responsibility, and strike people off who do the wrong thing," Miliband said.

"Bankers say the era of remorse is over, but that's not good enough. I just don't think anything has really changed. Nobody has paid a price for what happened -- that is what really angers people.

"There is a sense they just don't get it."

His comments came ahead of Monday's publication of eagerly awaited final recommendations by a government-appointed commission tasked with overhauling the banking sector and prevent future state bailouts of stricken lenders.

The Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) is expected to confirm its initial proposals published in April that called for a "ring-fencing" of lenders' retail businesses, thus avoiding banks being sunk by investment division losses.

But reports have suggested that following intense lobbying by British banks such as HSBC and Barclays, the reforms might be delayed until after the next general election in 2015.

However, Business Minister Vince Cable insisted on Sunday that an overhaul of the sector was inevitable and would not be put off.

"Banks must be left under no illusion that reform is coming," he wrote in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

"The recession is not an excuse for postponing banking reform. Indeed our economic recovery depends on it."

© 2011 AFP

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