HC Deb 05 July 1971 vol 820 cc915-6
32. Dr. Gilbert

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he hopes to be able to announce further proposals for dealing with the bank cartel.

Mr. Ridley

I would refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend's reply to his Question on 14th June.—[Vol. 819, c. 7.]

Dr. Gilbert

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that now that the Treasury has come forward with this proposal for breaking up the cartel regarding interest rates, there is no excuse left whatsoever for not dealing with other aspects of the cartel's collusive practices in relation to services, charges and so on? Can we hope for some action from the hon. Gentleman's Department on this matter?

Mr. Ridley

The hon. Gentleman must await the outcome of the talks between the banks and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the future relationship between the Government and the banks, and then we shall see what developments take place.

Mr. Orme

Is not the Minister aware that there is public concern at the dramatic lowering of standards by British banks, especially following many of the mergers that have taken place? Something has to be done about this, and the Government have a duty to look into the matter.

Mr. Ridley

The hon. Gentleman's Administration slept on this problem for six and a half years, but my right hon. Friend has already announced plans for reforming the whole system under which banking will operate in this country.