George Freeman backs calls for banks to focus on backing small businesses and supporting growth
21st June 2012
Speaking during a debate on the mis-selling of interest rate swap products to small and medium-sized businesses, George Freeman calls for banks to focus on backing small businesses and supporting our high streets rather than making money from selling glamorous derivative products.
George Freeman (Mid Norfolk) (Con): I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way, not least as I now have the opportunity to add my name to those of the other Members supporting my hon. Friend the Member for Aberconwy (Guto Bebb) in raising this important issue. My hon. Friend has also given me the opportunity to highlight the case of Adcocks of Watton, a venerable old business in my constituency which has suffered terribly and whose case has recently featured on the BBC. Does he agree that whatever the whys and wherefores and the legal findings on the small print in the contracts, these wider cases are symptomatic of a deeper problem in our banking sector? The banks seem increasingly to have decided, in rural areas in particular, to make their money from charges and selling more glamorous derivative products, at the expense of backing small businesses and supporting growth on the high street, which is what we really want our traditional banking sector to do.
Mr Jones: I thank my hon. Friend for his comments. He is absolutely right to say that these products were not suitable for the type of business that he mentioned. As chair of the all-party group on town centres, I take a great interest in town centres and high streets. At this difficult time for them, the type of business that he mentioned can do without this type of additional pressure.