Labour MP: Financial services must reform

A former Aviva public policy manager has used her maiden speech in Parliament to call for tougher regulation of financial services.

Louise Haigh, who was elected as the Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley last month, said yesterday the attitudes of the City remain unchanged following the recession, and called for further political intervention.

“The culture of excessive pay, short-termism and cavalier risk-taking was demonstrated only last week with yet another case of Libor fixing,” Haigh said.

“While our constituents remain worse off as a continued result of the financial crisis, again I know that this is something we will all aspire to solve.”

However, she added that the Queen’s Speech had offered little suggestion of how the new Conservative Government will set to this task.

She said: “Given that the consequences of the weak recovery will be familiar to all of us – low wages, poor productivity and insecure work – it is incumbent on us all to address the reasons why our financial system is not providing the long-term investment that we need in cities like Sheffield.

“If we are to secure a sustainable economy that delivers benefits for all, we must transform the way our economy works, incentivising investment in green, productive industries and penalising those short-term industries and practices that have done our economy and society such harm.”

Haigh’s comments come as Lloyds Bank was hit with a £117m fine for its handling of complaints for payment protection insurance, while Barclays Bank was last week slapped with a record £284m fine over foreign exchange rate manipulation.