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Don’t kill initiative just for expediency

Lord Adair Turner’s tone following the publication of his 122-page missive on how to save the UK banking system from a second financial Armageddon is reminiscent of a previous holder of his office at the Financial Service Authority.

I’m thinking of former FSA chairman Sir Howard Davis, who savoured the intellectual challenge of the job in the same way. But Sir Howard was a tad more realistic.

Do we really need a pan-European regulatory body and a more prescriptive approach to what we can and cannot do? And does the FSA need a regiment of new commissars to tell firms how to run their businesses?

If what we’ve been experiencing until now has been a light touch, I dread to think what the leaden hand of the FSA will be like.

The achievements of mortgage lenders should not be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic which holds the European Union presidency warned against a solution of the kind the Prime Minister and Lord Turner are advocating.

The crisis, Klaus declared, cannot be solved by restraining human initiative and putting further burdens on businesses. I propose the exact opposite: deregulation, liberalisation, removing barriers and unnecessary obstructive legislation at the European level.

I’ll drink to that but fear the worst.

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