As I said back in 2012 when I was a member of the Treasury Select Committee, the LIBOR scandal was one of the greatest outrages we have seen in financial services. The breadth of the scandal was startling, with dozens of banks in countries around the world colluding with each other for years to influence the price of trillions of pounds of financial transactions.
When I spoke to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour last November, and to the Today programme on Radio 4, I was clear that this was complete corruption on the part of these foreign exchange traders, at a time when the financial sector was being bailed out by the taxpayers. It was a total disgrace, and people were rightly livid.
That is why I was delighted when the Chancellor announced in 2012 that he would be transferring millions of pounds from the fines levied on the banks following the LIBOR scandal to projects focused on benefiting former and serving military personnel. Supporting those who serve to protect us is a moral obligation which exists between the nation, the Government and the Armed Forces, and the sacrifices made by serving personnel, veterans and their families should be recognised accordingly. I was therefore particularly pleased in March last year to hear from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence that some of the money from the LIBOR fines is being used to deal with the awful mental illness that comes to those who have lost loved ones in conflict, and to help the families of those who have suffered mental health problems after spending time overseas in conflict areas.
Going further, as part of our Armed Forces Covenant, I was pleased to announce earlier today that we are providing £500,000 in funding from the LIBOR fines to tackle the difficulties that some of our Armed Forces personnel have encountered in getting credit approved, due in part to moving regularly and not being able to build up a good credit rating.
Plans are underway to help Armed Forces personnel save with credit unions directly from their salary or pension. Military personnel have long faced difficulties accessing credit due to the mobile lifestyles required by their jobs, and it is right that fines from the small number who’ve demonstrated the worst of values will be used to support these military personnel who have served their country.