Pass on lower interest rates, says Darling

Britain’s high street banks are to be forced to undergo individual audits of their lending practices by the Treasury, amid claims they are still failing to lend fairly to cash-strapped businesses. After a meeting with the heads of Britain’s main lenders yesterday, the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, said that each bank would have ‘someone looking over their shoulder’ to ensure they were not failing to pass on record low interest rates to small businesses. Treasury sources have been concerned that while lending to larger companies and for mortgages was improving, the terms handed to small and medium-sized firms had continued to deteriorate since 2014. MPs are also under pressure from constituents being priced out of loans or subjected to severe terms.