Miliband pledges new force to lead financial crackdown
Ed Miliband will promise today to create a team of specialists in the Serious Fraud Office whose sole job will be to hunt down perpetrators of market rigging and similar types of financial crime.
The pledge will be included in a speech by the Labour leader on ways in which the Government can influence the culture of those working in the big banks, and bring back old fashioned ideas about serving customers.
Mr Miliband is expected to say: "We would set up a new financial crime unit at the Serious Fraud Office so that our country is no longer a soft touch for white-collar crime."
His comments are aimed at addressing public anger over the way that bankers who rig interest rates appear to get away with it, because the Financial Services Authority has no power to prosecute, when others who commit offences involving far smaller sums are brought to justice.
Labour politicians say the SFO has the power, but not the capacity, to go after bankers who rig the system.
The shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, emphasised yesterday that rigging the Libor rate was a criminal offence, and "always was". He accused the Government and the SFO of being "very, very tardy" in going after the culprits.
He told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme: "It's not the regulator's job to enforce the criminal law. That's the job of the Serious Fraud Office. And the reason why people are so angry is they think when people avoid their taxes or cheat on benefits they get sentences in jail; but when bankers do massive multi-million or billion-pound frauds, there aren't criminal prosecutions."
The shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, added that the fraud office needs more state backing to do its job.
"What the Government should be doing is giving the Serious Fraud Office some of the money, for example, from this huge fine that Barclays had to pay, to make sure there is a proper investigation and people actually face charges," she said.
In his speech, Mr Miliband will also stress the importance of increasing competition between the high-street banks. Lloyds has already been told to sell 650 of its premises in the wake of its takeover of the Halifax Bank of Scotland.
The Labour leader will promise that a Labour government will go further, so that instead of high-street trade being dominated by five banks, there will be seven. He also wants a new code of conduct for banks, which would be supervised by an organisation similar to the British Medical Association.
The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said moves were already under way to make the banks more customer-friendly.
"I want to see more competition. It's a good idea and it's happening. We are creating a more competitive banking system," he said.
- 1 Universities aren't working us hard enough, say undergraduates
- 2 Lego letter from the 1970s still offers a powerful message to parents 40 years later
- 3 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Oscar Pistorius terrorised Reeva before he shot her dead, says June Steenkamp
Audacious North Korean kidnap plot foiled at Paris airport as 'Asian men' attempted to bundle student onto plane
Heroin to be prescribed to Canadian addicts by doctors
Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby – through the stories of his accusers
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fragrance store are lookin...
£20000 - £23000 per annum: Langley James : Desktop Support Analyst; 1st Line; ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This fragrance store are looking for enthusias...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting and rewarding role ...