Manchester Green wrote:
And predictably, after finally mustering the curiosity to skim-read that article, no, it doesn't mention the increased bank levy.
Perhaps that's because it was posted a day before the levy was announced? On the 8th the guardian had the news of the levy as the first article on it's webpage - the Monbiot article was hidden away down the bottom.
I wouldn't get too excited about the Tories 'clamp down' on the banks. They are no different really from Nu Labour, despite the rhetoric they are in thrall to the financial services industry. If the clamp down was so tough, why has a senior Lib Dem resigned in protest?
Tony Bliar was rewarded for his 'regulation' of the banking industry that he got a £1m a year 'job' with Morgan Stanley after leaving parliament. Even economists don't seem convinced by Osbourne's latest attempts
However, economist Vicky Redwood at Capital Economics said Project Merlin would be "no magic fix" for lending in the UK.
The targets relate to gross lending, which does not take into account loans repaid. Net lending is seen as a more meaningful gauge for the economy.
Ms Redwood said: "We don't think that this agreement - any more than the ones that preceded it - will succeed in getting credit flowing around the economy again.
"The Government needs to consider more radical solutions, such as providing direct guarantees for bank lending to firms and households."
Edit to add: As someone else has just pointed out to me the 'increase' in lending promised - from 179bn last year to 190bn is around 6%. When you take into account inflation is about 5% it's not much of an increase!