Concerns raised over planned sale of Co-op Bank

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The former business secretary Sir Vince Cable and two Treasury Committee MPs have raised concerns over the planned sale of the Co-op Bank.

Sir Vince told BBC 5 live that the sale would be “bad news” for all UK bank customers as there would be reduced competition.

Earlier on in the week the bank was put up for sale, just four years after a near collapse.

The Bank was rescued due to a deal which left the Co-operative Group with a 20 per cent stake, hedge funds own the rest.

Sir Vince told BBC 5 live: “Whatever we think about the Co-op Bank and how it got in to trouble, it’s bad news when we have only a very, very small number of banks catering to domestic and business customers,”

“Britain is in a very unusual position of having a very high concentration of banks, quite unlike most continental countries such as Germany, quite unlike the United States, where there are lots of big and small banks catering to different needs.”

He added: “We have a concentrated system, and it’s one that has historically provided a very bad service.”

Treasury Committee member George Kerevan, the SNP MP for East Lothian, stated that he was “extremely concerned”.

Helen Goodman, Labour MP for Bishop Auckland, who also sits on the Treasury Committee expressed particular concern about the sale because “it’s the only ethical bank which is available to large numbers of people”.

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