Labour urges inquiry into suicide of 'harried' debtor

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The Independent Online
THE BANK of England was urged yesterday to investigate the case of Steven Langley, 45, who committed suicide last August after, in the coroner's words, Barclays 'harried' him over a pounds 72 repayment on a loan, writes Stephen Ward.

The day after he died, Mr Langley's pounds 943 salary cheque, paid in five days earlier, was finally cleared and paid into his account at Coventry high street branch, an inquest was told. Dr Richard Whittington, the Birmingham coroner, said the bank had 'tipped the balance' to make him commit suicide. Nigel Griffiths, Labour consumer affairs spokesman, called on the bank to investigate Mr Langley's case.

In a Commons motion, Mr Griffiths urged Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, to instruct the Banking Ombudsman and the Bank of England as regulator to 'hold an inquiry into this and a full investigation into the practices of banks to delay processing cheques and standing orders and other devices which inflate bank profits'.

Mr Langley, from Balsall Common, West Midlands, died in a fume-filled car four days after receiving two letters demanding that he return his chequebook and card.