Women, especially new mums and pregnant women, are being let down by banks, according to a think-tank report by Cambridge professor Noreena Hertz.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has promised to investigate the claims that women are more likely to be denied loans and mortgages because of their gender.
Though the banks deny the claims, Professor Noreen has evidence of maternity leave has affected mortgage applications by women and of banks rejcting women on discovering their pregnancy.
Evidence also suggest that female business oweners are offered loans at worse rates than men, paying up to 1% more than their male counterparts.
“It’s as if we’ve gone back in time to the 1950s. Banks need to be put to notice that such behaviour is both unlawful and unacceptable,” said Professor Noreen. “It’s also economically damaging to the UK as a whole. It is imperative that women be able to play their full part in the economic recovery.”
Nick Clegg has promised to investigate the claims, saying, “I am calling for an investigation into banks’ treatment of female entrepreneurs, pregnant women and women on maternity leave, and for banks to publish their lending decisions by gender in a transparent fashion.”
But the British Bankers’ Association refuted the suggestions. “We are deeply concerned that this unaudited paper, based on a smal number of website posting, is being presented as actual evidence of a systemic industy failure. Anyone who feels his or her bank has acted improperly should contact it directly,” a spokesperson for the association said.
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