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NatWest chief Dame Alison Rose ‘skirting scrutiny’ for snubbing MPs

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NatWest chief is ‘skirting scrutiny’ for snubbing MPs: Dame Alison Rose defies calls to offer evidence on savings rates in Parliament

Natwest boss Dame Alison Rose has been accused of ‘skirting scrutiny’ for refusing to look before MPs in Parliament next Tuesday.

UK bosses on the 4 biggest banks have been called to offer evidence to the Treasury select committee over issues resembling savings rates.

Members of the committee consider lenders are ‘dragging their feet’ on increasing savings rates – while being quicker to pass on hikes in mortgage and other loan costs.

Lloyds chief executive Charlie Nunn has agreed to attend alongside Ian Stuart, head of HSBC’s ring-fenced UK bank.

Barclays is sending UK boss Matt Hammerstein instead of chief executive Venkat, who’s being treated for cancer.

Harriett Baldwin MP

Pushing back: Natwest boss Dame Alison Rose, left, won’t attend Parliament despite an appeal by Harriett Baldwin MP

But Rose has said she is just too busy despite the bank still being 46pc-owned by the taxpayer.

She blamed diary constraints ahead of the lender’s full-year results on February 17.

That is despite Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds also publishing full-year results this month, with Barclays as a result of report on February 15. 

NatWest will as a substitute send David Lindberg, head of the retail bank, to attend in her place.

It is known Harriett Baldwin, chair of the Treasury select committee, called Rose to personally ask her to attend.

She said: ‘I’m very keen that each one the main banks’ top executives appear. I’m particularly keen that it mustn’t be an all-male panel, because we would like to send out a message to younger ladies in banking that they’ll reach the very top.’

But sources consider Rose will appear due to the backlash, with much more of a highlight on her. 

One observer said: ‘Alison is great but she has been very badly advised on this.’ A second said she was ‘skirting scrutiny’.

NatWest is anticipated to unveil bumper 2022 profits, buoyed by rising rates of interest. It was rescued with a near-£50billion bailout within the financial crisis and taxpayers are still the largest shareholder.

Committee member Labour MP Dame Angela Eagle said: ‘When banks require the state to be the lender of last resort, for bosses not to come back and provides evidence to the select committee once they are asked is an insult.

‘I believe she should show some respect to Parliament and if she is asked to offer evidence she should come.’

Tory MP Dame Andrea Leadsom said she was ‘very surprised’. 

She said: ‘Almost every UK bank chief executive will attend this significant hearing into why rate of interest rises don’t seem like fully passed on to savers. 

Mortgage rates went up immediately on each increase in the bottom rate, so why not give pensioners and other savers a good deal?’

Bosses shall be grilled on the state of the mortgage market and the lifting of bankers’ bonus caps. 

NatWest said: ‘Because the chief executive of our retail bank, serving 16m customers, David Lindberg is directly liable for these critical consumer issues and is an appropriate representative for NatWest Group.’

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