Miliband attacks pension and bank charges

Ed Miliband has launched an attack on high pension and bank charges as part of his responsible capitalism agenda.

In an interview with the Daily telegraph, the Labour leader says he wants to give regulators the power to intervene and ban excessive bank fees. He adds that if pension charges do not fall, he would push for them to be capped.

He says: “In every area you have to call time on the surcharge culture. Making a fair profit is important but it cannot be done in an underhand and predatory way. This is about power in relation to private services and how Government can be on the consumer’s side.”

Miliband’s stance on pension charges puts him in line with the Coalition. Pensions minister Steve Webb has already warned that if industry fails to reduce charges he will consider capping them.

He criticises the fact that up to 16 fees and levies can be applied to private pension schemes and wants to see firms set out how much they are charging savers to invest. He adds that more oversight of bank charges is needed partly because banks make up to £2bn a year from unauthorised overdraft fees.

His comments add to the theme he has been trying to develop for his leadership of taking on “predatory capitalism”. The Government has also promised to battle “crony capitalism” and recent weeks have seen a rash of speeches about executive pay and increasing the power of shareholders..

He says: “My challenge to David Cameron is to say it is all very well you coming on to our ground but we are going to test you.”