Financial crises: Safer now than in 2008?

William JordanUS Elections Editor
June 25, 2013, 5:00 PM GMT+0

A majority of voters think banking regulations are still too soft, and nearly four in five think we are little or no more protected from future crises now than we were in 2008

Last Wednesday David Cameron said he would support introducing “criminal penalties against bankers who behave irresponsibly”. Cameron was responding to questions about a report from the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards that called for new laws making “reckless misconduct in the management of a bank” a criminal offence with a possible prison sentence. The same Parliamentary Commission previously said that the Banking Reform Bill, which comes into force in early 2014, "does not go far enough".

YouGov research reveals most Britons agree more needs to be done: 55% of the public think regulations for banks and the financial sector enacted by the current government are “too soft”.

Political differences play prominently in voter approval of government banking policies. The 26% who say the coalition government has "got the balance about right" on regulations includes 51% of Conservative voters and 31% of Lib Dem voters and only 17% and 16% of UKIP and Labour voters, respectively.

Additionally, while 37% of British adults are inclined to say the country is "a little more protected" from a future financial crisis than it was in 2008, about the same proportion of the population, 38%, think the country’s level protection is “about the same” now as it was at the beginning of the crisis. Another 11% think the country is even less protected from future crises than it was in 2008.

The coalition government does come off better on banking regulations than the previous government, however. About three quarters (74%) of the public say regulations in force when the Labour government that was in power from 1997 to 2010 were “too soft”. Only 11% think Labour got it right.

A Treasury spokesman said of the report, which was commissioned by the government: "The government publicly welcomes the Commission’s recommendations on increased personal responsibility especially at a senior level. Where legislation is needed we have said we will support it.”

So far no banker has faced court over the credit crisis in 2007-08, which led to multiple taxpayer-funded bailouts of troubled banks.

See the full poll results

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