Miliband: Britain’s banks are broken

Ed Miliband will call for the “Big Five” banks to sell off branches, in order to make the industry more competitive.

The Labour leader, outlining his plan for Britain’s economy later today, will also speak about his plan to launch two “challenger” banks which he hopes will provide competition against HSBC, Barclays, RBS, Santander and Lloyds.

Speaking at the University of London, Miliband will argue financial services had been “an incredibly poor servant of the real economy”.

He will say the lack of competition in banking is a root cause of poor service, a breakdown of trust, mis-selling and the £56bn drop in lending to business since May 2010.

Cost-of-living crisis

Miliband is also expected to highlight the cost-of-living crisis as the biggest challenge facing political leaders at the next election.

He will say: “The next election is about who we are as a country and who we want to recover to be. It is about all those millions of people who believe: we’re Britain, we’re better than this. But we can only do better if the conversation in politics catches up with our country.

“Some people in Westminster still ask me: is the cost-of-living crisis really such a big deal? Isn’t it just a short-term problem? This shows they just don’t understand.

“The cost-of-living crisis is the single greatest challenge our country faces because not since the century before last have we seen such a sustained fall in living standards.”

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