Pressure on Osborne to ignore ICB

Steve Dinneen
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PRESSURE mounted on George Osborne last night not to push through with the radical banking reforms that will be recommended by Sir John Vickers next month.

The Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) has already suggested the retail arms of British banks should be ringfenced from their other activities.

Angela Knight, head of the British Bankers’ Association (below), said the plans could derail the recovery of the banks and threaten the health of the economy. She said the Treasury should focus on the recovery before considering potentially harmful regulation.

Her sentiments were echoed by John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), who told the Financial Times: “Taking action at this moment – this moment of growth peril, which weakens the ability of banks in Britain to provide the finance that businesses need to grow – is just to me barking mad.”

The ICB was set up to examine the banking industry in the wake of the bailouts. It said it has found evidence of excessive risk-taking. However, the chancellor has no obligation to act on its findings.