Miliband demands crackdown on UK bankers

Irresponsible bankers who take unacceptable risks or mis-sell products to customers should be barred from the profession, UK opposition leader Ed Miliband said today.

Irresponsible bankers who take unacceptable risks or mis-sell products to customers should be barred from the profession, UK opposition leader Ed Miliband said today.

The Labour leader demanded tough new rules allowing regulators to "strike off" reckless City staff in the same way negligent midwives and doctors can be ruled unfit for practice.

His call came ahead of tomorrow's publication of the Independent Commission on Banking's (ICB) final report which will make recommendations on how to prevent another banking crisis, and as Business Secretary Vince Cable warned the industry to prepare for sweeping reforms.

The British government launched the ICB, chaired by John Vickers, last year to find ways of avoiding another banking crisis and taxpayer bailout.

Mr Miliband said today: "Bankers say the era of remorse is over, but that's not good enough.

"I just don't think anything has really changed. Nobody has paid a price for what happened - that is what really angers people.

"There is a sense that they just don't get it. This is nothing to do with politics or envy.

"It is to do with the real destruction caused by bankers, for which other people paid the price."

In an interview with The Sunday Times, the Labour leader added: "Frankly, I think the industry should take some responsibility and strike people off who do the wrong thing."

Meanwhile, Mr Cable said bankers should never again be allowed to gamble "the deposits of British savers to play the banking equivalent of the roulette wheel".

Writing in The Mail on Sunday, the minister repeated his attack on institutions which continue to award top staff "lavish remuneration packages".

He warned: "Banks must be left under no illusions that reform is coming.

"The recession is not an excuse for postponing banking reform. Indeed our economic recovery depends on it."

Describing why an overhaul of the banking system was needed, Mr Cable said: "Three years on from the massive financial heart attack which did enormous damage to the world's economy, we have been reminded that although a complete collapse was averted by the surgeons in central banks and finance ministers, the patient is still far from well.

"The carnage (of the crisis) would have been worse had the Government - the taxpayer - not stepped in to offer guarantees and emergency lending for all banks that were short of liquidity.

"Yet top bankers, whose institutions remain dependent on taxpayer guarantees, continue to award themselves huge salaries and bonuses."

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, later dismissed reports Mr Cable would quit if the Government delayed implementing Vickers' recommendations.

He told Sky News' Murnaghan programme he had spoken to the Business Secretary and the claims were "total nonsense".

Mr Alexander added: "The important thing here is to get on with the job of sorting out our banking system."

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