HC Deb 20 October 2003 vol 411 cc395-6W
Dr. Cable

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made in implementing the findings of the Cruickshank report on United Kingdom banking; and if he will make a statement. [132871]

Ruth Kelly

There have been a number of recent developments.

Following a recommendation of the Julius Banking Consumer Codes Review Group, Professor Elaine Kempson independently reviewed the Banking code in November 2002. The majority of her recommendations were accepted and the new Banking Code came into force in March of this year.

Secondly, the OFT have agreed to a number of undertakings with the eight main clearing banks to address the findings of the Competition Commission Report into SME banking in March 2002. These remedies will make it easier for customers to shop around and to move accounts between banks. In addition the four leading clearing banks have agreed to offer SME customers in England and Wales an account paying interest of at least the Bank of England base rate minus 2.5 per cent., or a current account free of money transmission charges.

Thirdly, the Government will make an announcement shortly on the commitment to review the Financial Services and Markets Act two years after it came into force.

Finally, the Government remains committed to legislating to give the OFT new powers to ensure effective competition in payment systems, and will do so as soon as Parliamentary time allows.