Diamond calls for UK growth

THE head of Barclays has called on the government to deliver a plan for growth based on a renewed faith in the private sector, warning that the economy is being strangled by a crisis in confidence.

Speaking at Barclays’ half-year results, chief executive Bob Diamond said that the UK is ahead of others in tackling its debt problem but now needs to make a greater effort to show that it is open for business.

“We need to get the economy going in the UK,” he urged the government. “London is a great location – we need to talk business, business, business, growth, growth, growth. It’s about an attitude to the private sector... I don’t think anyone is doing enough.”

He warned that instead, political wrangling on both sides of the Atlantic and a lack of assertiveness means that “the key word is uncertainty, followed by a lack of confidence”.

“Here’s the number that worries me,” he added. “Our small business deposits are up by 41 per cent.” In other words, Diamond said, the businesses needed to drive the economy are hoarding cash rather than investing it.

He also warned the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) proposal to ringfence banks’ retail arms would restrict the flow of credit to the real economy.