On 22nd October 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact on rural communities of the decision by Barclays Bank to end cash withdrawal services from the Post Office”. The bishop then asked a follow-up question:
Lord Bishop of St Albans: I beg leave to ask the Question in my name on the Order Paper and declare my interest as president of the Rural Coalition.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Northern Ireland Office (Lord Duncan of Springbank): My Lords, the Government are disappointed by the withdrawal of Barclays from the renegotiated banking framework. None the less, the new banking framework will enable customers to access their cash from 27 high street banks. The Government will continue to ensure that communities receive support and have choice about how they manage their finances.
Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his reply. Rural communities rely on access to finance, but in many rural areas where there is poor broadband or weak mobile signal, online banking is impossible. This is a fundamental issue for our rural areas. What representations have Her Majesty’s Government made to Barclays Bank, and what will we do if other banks decide to follow its lead? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about access to cash withdrawal services in rural areas”
On 3rd September 2019 the Bishop of St Albans led a debate on a motion to ask the Government “what assessment they have made of the implementation of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards and the opportunities for further banking reform”. The Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd David Urquhart, also made a contribution:
Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I am grateful to my right reverend friend for leading this debate and I welcome the Minister to his new role. I want to focus on the recommendations in the original report—the references in paragraph 138 of the summary, volume 1—which looked at culture change. The response of the banking industry to that challenge came through a report produced by Sir Richard Lambert, which said that if the banks didn’t face up to this, there will be further intervention, regulation and direction. As a result, the UK Banking Standards Board was set up in 2015. I declare my interests in that I am a founder member of that board and also part of the ad hoc Financial Exclusion Committee which has been referred to already.
Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham speaks about banking reform”
On 3rd September 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, led a debate in the House of Lords on a motion to ask Government “what assessment they have made of the implementation of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards and the opportunities for further banking reform”. The Bishop of Birmingham also made a contribution, which can be found here. The Bishop’s speech introducing the debate is below, as is the Government response:
Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I add my welcome to the noble Lord, Lord Bethell, in his new role and I look forward to working with him.
I begin by acknowledging that the banks have an important role in our society today. They do many good things—they employ more than 1 million people and pay more than £60 billion in tax annually—but, despite the many good things they do, we are also aware of the history of recent years. We are now 11 years on from the financial crash and six years on from the publication of the report by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, and it is almost three years to the day since I last secured a debate on this topic.
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans leads Lords debate on progress made in banking reform”
On the 6th September 2017 Lord Leigh of Hurley asked Government “whether it is their policy to reduce unnecessary regulation of financial services; and if so, whether they intend to review current Financial Conduct Authority practices to ascertain whether that regulator is going beyond what is appropriate and necessary to fulfil that policy.” The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, when do Her Majesty’s Government intend to implement in full the principal recommendations of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, published in June 2013?
Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government when it will implement Banking Standards Commission recommendations”
On 8th September 2016 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, led a debate in the House of Lords: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of progress towards implementing the recommendations contained within the report of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, Changing banking for good.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev & Rt Hon Justin Welby spoke in the debate, having previously served on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.
The Bishop of St Albans’ opening speech and the response of the Minister can be read here.
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I add my congratulations to those of other noble Lords on the appointment of the noble Lord, Lord Ashton, as the Minister at DCMS. I have no doubt that we will come across each other again as “C”, “M” and “S” all seem to cover the Church in various forms. I should also say that I served on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards and had the very good fortune to do so with the noble Baroness, Lady Kramer, from whom I learned a great deal. I am also chairman of the Church Commissioners, who were involved in seeking to buy some of the spin-off assets of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate for arranging this debate. I agree entirely with his speech and indeed with the other four speakers that have been made before mine. I shall try to avoid repeating what they said. As we know, and as previous speakers have said, the key issue is banking culture. Culture comes from actions and decisions, and actions and decisions feed into culture. There is no doubt that changes introduced by the Government and the Bank of England have been extensive, and in many cases very effective. However, there are four linked areas, all of them around “too big to fail”, leading to what must be the long-term aim of ensuring that the Government do not have a contingent liability with respect to large banks that would result in them needing to provide support in the event of serious problems, as they had to do in 2008 at such cost. Continue reading “Archbishop speaks on banking reform, culture and practice”
On 8th September 2016 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, led a debate in the House of Lords: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of progress towards implementing the recommendations contained within the report of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, Changing banking for good.”
The Bishop’s opening speech is below, followed by the response of the Minister. Other members spoke in the debate, including the Archbishop of Canterbury (speech here) who had served on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I start this debate by saying how pleased I am to see the Minister responding today in his last time in his present role, although I look forward to working with him when he takes up his new duties at DCMS.
We are now three years on from the publication of the parliamentary commission’s report Changing Banking for Good. Thanks to the decisions made by this and previous Governments, our banking system is taking tentative but important steps along the road to recovery. We must not forget, however, the blunt summary in the report which laid out the scale of the problems with banks over the previous decade:
“Banks in the UK have failed in many respects. They have failed taxpayers, who had to bail out a number of banks including some major institutions, with a cash outlay peaking at £133 billion, equivalent to more than £2,000 for every person in the UK. They have failed many retail customers, with widespread product mis-selling. They have failed their own shareholders, by delivering poor long-term returns and destroying shareholder value. They have failed in their basic function to finance economic growth, with businesses unable to obtain the loans that they need at an acceptable price”.
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans leads debate on banking reform”
On 11th April 2016, Lord Holmes of Richmond asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are intending to take to address the issue of the unbanked and underbanked in the United Kingdom.” Lord Ashton of Hyde responded. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham highlights importance of Credit Unions”