Osborne shows muddled thinking on banking reform

Philip Booth comments on George Osborne's statement on banking reform

Commenting on George Osborne’s statement today about banking reform, Prof. Philip Booth, Editorial Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“There is a clear lack of decisiveness about how to approach the problem of banking regulation from the government. On the one hand, welcome action has been taken to ensure that depositors are treated preferentially in the event of a bank failure and to ensure that banks can be wound up in an orderly fashion. On the other hand, the government wants banks to hold much more capital to ensure that they very, very rarely fail. Discouraging failure so strongly also militates against the government's other objective of promoting a dynamic market with healthy competition from new entrants because it prevents the established banks from failing and exiting the market.

“The ring fencing of EEA deposit business is a clumsy mechanism that would not have made any difference to the banking crash of 2008. A more imaginative approach would have been to give the Bank of England a primary legal responsibility to ensure that banks could be wound up safely in the event of failure and also to give the Bank of England the power to impose structural change if and only if it was necessary to do so.”

Notes to editors

To arrange an interview with Prof. Philip Booth (Editorial Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs) please contact Ruth Porter, Communications Director, rporter@iea.org.uk or 077 5171 7781.

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.

 

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