Belfast Telegraph

Chancellor George Osborne blasted as banks probe axed

By Business Reporters

George Osborne has been accused of forcing regulators to ditch a review into Britain's banking culture under pressure from the industry's biggest names.

The Chancellor is "bowing" to demands to drop the so-called banker bashing probe set up after the Libor rate-rigging scandal, it was claimed.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced it would instead "engage individually with firms to encourage their delivery of cultural change".

The decision comes after FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley announced in July his decision to quit the post as Mr Osborne refused to renew his contract, which was due to end in March.

MPs suggested the Chancellor was behind a decision to drop the review months after it was set up.

Labour's John Mann, who sits on the Treasury Select Committee, said: "George Osborne is behind it, without any question.

"The cultural issues are what lays at the heart of the financial crisis. It's fundamental. Individuals took irrational risks with other people's money.

"This decision leaves us hugely exposed into the future because it allows the banks to continue to act as they acted before.

"George Osborne is bowing to pressure from the banks. HSBC and Barclays have threatened to leave the country - that is what they are privately threatening."

Conservative Mark Garnier, who sits on the committee, said he was "disappointed" by the decision.

Belfast Telegraph