LIBOR

Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): Does the Chancellor accept that public confidence in his Government, the Crown Prosecution Service and the police will be totally destroyed if no prosecution results for the bankers who rigged the LIBOR rate? Whatever the specifics of banking legislation, an offence has been committed—conspiracy to defraud—and that is what the police should be investigating in a criminal investigation.

Mr Osborne: The Serious Fraud Office is absolutely independent of Government, but it will be in no doubt that this House and the Government want to ensure that the law is properly enforced and that if there are legal avenues that it can explore, it should use them. We must accept that the Financial Services Authority, which is also a prosecuting authority in respect of financial crime, does not feel that it was given enough powers to undertake a criminal prosecution, as Lord Turner has said very clearly. That is why I want to give the regulators the powers they need. Instead of spending two or three years getting to that point—a long public inquiry would take a year or two, after which the Government would go away, consult, publish a White Paper and introduce legislation, and it would be 2015 or 2016 before we did anything—I propose that we use the Financial Services Bill that is already before the House and next year’s banking Bill to put things right.

Reckless and Dangerous Says MP

MP Peter Hain has attacked the Government for “endangering local communities” with “reckless” policies. Since May last year there have been cuts to cuts to tax credits, Winter Fuel, disability living allowance compounded by an increase in the VAT rate.

There are also concerns over the next generation of youngsters as university tuition fees have trebled and plans you get youngsters back into work have been scrapped. The Future Jobs Fund which provided youngsters with the skills find employment and created ninety-six more jobs in Neath Port Talbot was scrapped as part of the Governments efficiency savings.

Mr Hain said, “David Cameron is making life harder for ordinary people with reckless and dangerous cuts squeezing the living standards of hard working families.

“The future for youngsters is worrying, we were told the £9000 annual fee was only to be applied in ‘exceptional circumstances’ but has now become the norm. Whilst the scrapping of the Future Jobs Fund which was helping to reduce the numbers of youth unemployed, without it youth unemployment is stagnating

“The Tories are making reckless choices but it’s our communities that are paying the price and it’s too high a price.”