Douglas Carswell

17 MAR 2016

Britain's banks are too big to save

It is sometimes said that the banks are too big to fail. The reality is many have become too big to save.

In 1971, when the pound was linked to the dollar, and the dollar was linked to gold, the assets of British banks were worth well under 100% of our GDP. Today, they come to well over 400%.

The only countries with a higher ratio of bank assets to GDP than the UK are Ireland, Iceland, and Singapore. The precedent from two of those three should make us worried.

A little like late mediaeval Venice or early modern Holland, there is a real risk that Britain's economy is excessively built on a fundamentally unstable banking structure. As our paper revealed a few months ago, our banks hold so little equity they are no safer than they were in 2007.

We often condescendingly look across the Channel at economic stagnation Europe. We pretend – like the Chancellor did yesterday – that our economy is in much better health. Actually we're vulnerable too.

Trying to keep broken banks afloat won't protect our deposits and our savings. We need to start thinking about how to let big banks fail safely, and build a better banking system.

There is life After Osbrown.

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