Thursday, 13 August 2009

'The treatment of charges by the banks borders on the scandalous

'The treatment of charges by the banks borders on the scandalous' so says Nick Clegg in a letter to the online http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/. The website, a favourite of my colleague Simon Shaw, wrote to Cameron challenging him to say how he would deal with the issue of bank charges. Cameron has said they are unfair but todate he has not backed any policy to have them refunded. After three weeks without a reply from Cameron Nick Clegg has moved into the vacum created by Cameron's silence and has written to Martin Lewis of the online journal:

Dear Martin,
As a subscriber to your weekly email, I saw your recent
comments on unfair banking charges. I couldn't agree more with you about the
scandalous nature of these charges.
The Liberal Democrats have taken a strong stance on this for a long time - in particular, in our manifesto for complete reform of Britain's banking and financial institutions "A New Deal for the City", launched in May 2008 where we stated:


"The treatment of charges by the banks borders on the scandalous. It is a continuation of the practice described above: a protected industry seeking to maximise profits by exploiting the weakness of individual consumers who lack information and sophisticated knowledge of products or legal advice. The principle should be established that bank charges must be transparent and cost based."


In your email, you made a further suggestion that banks should have to pay back all unfair charges automatically if the courts do rule against them. This struck me as an extremely good idea that we should do all we can to put in place. Vince Cable, my shadow Chancellor, and I would be delighted to support your campaign.
We will put a motion before Parliament setting out our support for your idea as soon as the recess is over, which will hopefully put pressure on the government and the banks to act to return the money they so unfairly took from
customers.
Finally, I'm really looking forward to receiving the manifesto
you've been compiling on your site regarding other consumer issues. And I'm
pleased to be able to let you know we will be having a debate on consumer
protection at our conference in the autumn, where we hope to adopt some strong
new policies for our manifesto.
All the best,

Nick Clegg


It is well worth looking at the website and following the campaign, if you want to go straight to the story about Nick Clegg's support for legislation on unfair bank charges, click here