The former head of the British Bankers Association has repeatedly told MPs that she was sorry to have found herself in the pressure group during the banking crisis and the Libor-rigging scandal. Angela Knight, the former Conservative MP who led the BBA between 2007 and 2012, faced questions from the Treasury Select Committee on Tuesday whether her tenure in the association was a credibility issue for her. She didn’t agree.
Members of the committee were hearing testimony about his appointment as chairman of the Tax Simplification Office after a two-year stint at Energy UK. “I found myself in charge [at the BBA] at the time of the biggest banking crisis in history. I did what I could in the face of a hurricane, ”she said. “If someone who does a hard job and is in a very awkward position does what they can, then they are told, ‘You can’t do anything else,’ you will never get someone again. ‘one to do hard work. I did my best.
“I am so sorry to have ended up at the BBA during the banking crisis. I’m so sorry he chose me to be his target. I am so sorry that this has brought a professional association into another era. I’m so sorry I never persuaded the authorities to take over [setting] Libor [rates] earlier and I’m so sorry that the banks [the] financial disaster they made.
Knight admitted that she wished she had been stronger in dealing with problems uncovered with Libor, the interbank interest rate regime, administered at the time by the BBA. Knight had wanted the Bank of England to have observer status on Libor.
She also said she did not agree with the legal challenge launched by the banking industry over compensation for the payment protection insurance (PPI) scandal. The challenge was suddenly halted shortly after Lloyds Banking Group began paying compensation in May 2011. The abuse-selling scandal turned out to be the costliest in history, resulting in fines and costs of $ 26. billion pounds sterling and increasing.
Knight said she wanted to quit because of the PPI situation, but was asked to stay longer. She was ready to step down in her new role if there was any political inference, she told MPs.
During the financial crisis – which erupted a few months after taking office at BBA – Knight was regularly forced to defend the banking sector. She has given over 800 television interviews and delivered over 1,000 speeches.
The Treasury committee said it would release a report after Knight appeared. “A report on the committee’s review of his personal independence and professional competence in this role will be released in due course,” he said.
Knight told the committee that she was encouraged to apply for the two-day-a-month position with the tax body because it was an organization interested in promoting women to leadership positions. “The OTS is not a tax-making organization,” she told the committee, adding that it was not created to fight tax evasion and fraud.
Last month, a Reuters study found that five major banks paid no corporate taxes in 2014 in their British guns. Other multinationals have also turned out not to pay as much in taxes as one might expect. Knight was asked to find out if the OTS had a role to play in tackling this area, and said she was appalled at the avoidance stories.