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UK Government Reportedly “Deeply Concerned” Over Financial Deplatforming

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Amidst the growing tension over financial institutions blacklisting customers with certain viewpoints, the UK Treasury is supposedly stepping in to ensure that freedom from debanking is safeguarded. The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, is reportedly troubled by the actions of some banks and financial service providers who have been shutting down accounts based on customers’ opinions. Andrew Griffith, the City minister, has been tasked with probing the issue.

In the coming weeks, the Treasury is expected to publish the results of a consultation initiated after PayPal froze the accounts of several free speech groups. The recommendations from this consultation are intended to regulate the behavior of banks and payment providers. One of the expected recommendations is that these institutions should give a more formal notice period before closing accounts and should clearly state the reasons for doing so. Furthermore, if banks don’t comply with the set rules, regulators would be able to take appropriate measures.

The recent spark in controversy was ignited when Nigel Farage, a prominent proponent of Brexit, announced that his bank account had been terminated. Similarly, Reverend Richard Fothergill, an Anglican vicar, stated that his account with Yorkshire Building Society was shut down shortly after he criticized the bank’s position on LGBTQ+ issues during Pride month. Yorkshire Building Society responded, asserting that they do not close accounts based on differing opinions but may do so if a customer is rude, abusive, or discriminatory.

In an age where banks and payment service providers play a vital role in society, there are growing concerns that they might be denying services to individuals expressing lawful views. The Treasury has emphasized the need to protect freedom of speech, even for those who may have extreme views, as long as they are within the bounds of the law.

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