Bishop challenges banking Bill

The Bishop of Durham has challenged a Bill giving more power to the Bank of England.

The Financial Services Bill proposes abolishing the Financial Services Authority and dividing its powers between a new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England.

The Rt Rev Justin Welby said the Bill would make the Governor of the Bank of England "almost unchallengeable" in the running of the three main committees overseeing financial stability, while leaving the FCA as "the runt of the litter".

The amendments put forward by the Bill support locally based and easily accessible financial services.

If voted through, they would require the Financial Conduct Authority to "promote an appropriate level of financial services provision in deprived communities".

Lenders would be required to disclose the value of loans they make in these communities.

The amendment also requires the FCA to "have regard to the needs of small enterprises, third sector organisations and consumers in deprived communities".

In addition to the Bishop of Durham, the amendments have cross-party support, including from Baroness Andrews, Lord Sharkey and Baroness Kramer.

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