Vince Cable slams 'rip-off culture' of banks as he goes head to head with Chancellor

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Business Secretary Vince Cable has been keeping a low profile in recent months, but he's coming back with a vengeance as the media silly season kicks in with a speech today slamming the 'rip-off culture' that is ingrained in our banking sytem.

Fronting up a do by consumer group Which? – and likely to be given a standing ovation – Mr Cable will tell the audience that our banks are routinely over-charging us and making excessive profits. Good ol' Vince. He certainly picks his targets.

To be fair, though, he's always made clear his loathing of banks and the shoddy way that they treat their customers while at the same time acting like drunks in a casino with the money entrusted to them for sound investment.

So Vince's solution is to break up the banks to prevent them doing any further damage. He thinks that the high street and commercial arms of our finance institutions should operate completely independently of one another so that banks aren't tempted to dip into their reserves of ordinary depositors' cash to feed their gambling habit.

He's pushing this idea despite the fact that George Osborne, who is in government alongside Vince, believes that 'ring-fencing' the retail and investment operations under the one roof is the way to go. Vince says, by way of 'an unnamed source' that he remains to be convinced this is a good idea.

No prizes for guessing which option would win plaudits with the public and which plan the banks would prefer.

But Vince didn't get to where he is today – the fringes of Government and treated like a naughty stepchild – by saying what politicians or bankers wanted to hear, but he knows what a shake-up of our banks should look like and a bit of "You sit over here and you sit over there" isn't really what any of us had in mind when we were first promised the review.

With Vince on our side, we might still have a chance of something substantial yet.

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