Bank of England chief faces protests during speech to unions

15th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Bank of England governor Mervyn King faced protests from trade unionists Wednesday as he said Britain's financial system "needs radical reform" and warned of possible "storms" ahead.

At the start of his rare address to the Trades Union Congress, around a dozen delegates wearing T-shirts saying "make bankers pay" stood up in the audience in a silent protest.

Some delegates also held up signs saying "No Con-Dem cuts" -- a reference to the coalition government led by Prime Minister David Cameron which plans deep cuts to tackle Britain's record deficit, sharply criticised by the unions.

"Our financial system needs radical reform," King said in his speech. "Slowly but surely, we must move towards a banking system that does not put both the economy and your members' livelihoods at risk."

This will include banks holding more capital and being less highly leveraged in future, King said.

But despite unions' strident protest against the public sector cuts being proposed by Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government, King told them that a "clear and credible" plan for cutting the deficit was "vital".

He also warned that the economy may face "storms" ahead and "the road ahead is unlikely to be straight."

King added that there was "considerable uncertainty" about prospects for the United States and the Euro area -- Britain's biggest export markets.

© 2010 AFP

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