Ed Miliband: Banking Has Reached A Crossroads

Miliband To Bankers: Change Or Face Backlash

Ed Miliband has warned bankers that the industy has "reached a crossroads" and without change they risk a greater backlash from the public.

In a speech in London on Friday morning, the Labour leader said that after the events of this week which saw RBS chief Stephen Hester waive his near £1m bonus and Fred Goodwin stripped of his knighthood, the industry still needs to change.

“These are symbols – and symptoms - of public discontent with a system that is not working any more. Not for our economy. And not for our society. But these moments in our national life should not be the end of the debate. They should be the start."

Miliband will call for banking to change or risk "further isolation from society" and "greater public anger".

He outlined a call for one nation banking, the principle that "banks must not be isolated from the rest of the economy."

"Because banks and small businesses must succeed or fail together, banks must lend to small businesses so we can get the growth and jobs we need for the future. As things stand, that is not happening enough.

"Lending was down £10.8billion last year. But one nation banking also recognises that these institutions cannot be isolated from the rest of society – that we are once again at risk of becoming two nations in this country, segregated economically, geographically, and socially. This is not the kind of society in which I want to raise my children.

"And it is not the kind of society in which the vast majority of people in this country, including bankers, want to raise theirs."

On Tuesday Labour will debate bankers' bonuses in parliament on and vote on a bonus tax which the party claim could help fund schemes to tackle youth unemployment.

“This is about taking the first step away from bonus culture and towards one nation banking. It is about leadership to take the first step towards responsible capitalism. That is why we will have Commons vote on Tuesday," Miliband is expected to say.


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