Central banker

Bad Bank Practice

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has asked the City watchdog to speed up a probe into whether people have had bank accounts closed due to their political views

It follows a row over the closure of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s Coutts account.

Mr Hunt requested the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ‘urgently investigate how widespread this practice is, and put a stop to it’. The FCA reportedly said Mr Hunt’s request is ‘in line with our plans‘.

It comes after Mr Farage obtained a report from Coutts which indicated his political views were considered as a factor in his account closure. Mr Farage had his account re-instated and has launched a campaign against account closures which has received support from government ministers.

Express or suppress?

The FCA is already preparing to look into this, and banks also face government reforms over account closures. Mr Hunt reportedly said: ‘You can agree or disagree with Nigel Farage but everyone wants to be able to express their opinions’.

‘In today’s society, you need a bank account function and so a threat to be de-banked is a threat to your right to express your opinions‘.

Mr Hunt expressed the FCA has the power to fine banks ‘very large sums of money if they find this practice widespread’.

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