After receiving criticism from the politician for claiming that he lacked the cash necessary to maintain an account, the BBC changed a report concerning Nigel Farage’s Coutts bank account.
The ex-Ukip leader declared that he has filed a legal complaint against the reporting.
Simon Jack, the business editor for the BBC, tweeted that the original story’s headline had been “clarified” and an update had been published.
The headline on the Farage story has been clarified and an update posted. It should have been clearer at the top that the reason for Mr Farage's account being closed was commercial – was what a source told the BBC. That has been corrected.
— Simon Jack (@BBCSimonJack) July 21, 2023
He said: “It should have been clearer at the top that the reason for Mr Farage’s account being closed was commercial – was what a source told the BBC. That has been corrected.”
The BBC reported earlier this month that Mr. Farage did not meet the financial requirements to maintain an account at affluent private bank Coutts.
A eligibility form on the bank’s website states that consumers must borrow or invest at least £1 million or have $3 million in savings in order to be eligible.
The broadcaster was informed that the decision to close Mr. Farage’s account was “commercial” in nature rather than a reflection of the bank’s disagreement with his political stances.
However, Mr. Farage later obtained documents from Coutts detailing the reasons for the cancellation of his account through a subject access request (SAR), which he claims demonstrated that his opinions “do not align with our values.”
A correction to the original item was made by the BBC on Thursday, and it stated that the adjustment was made to “make clear that the details about the closure of Nigel Farage’s bank account came from a source.”
Additionally, it made reference to the document demonstrating that Mr. Farage’s political opinions were a major factor in the closure of his bank account.
But in response, Mr. Farage tweeted that he would filing a formal complaint and added, “I want an apology.”
A day prior, the head of the NatWest Group, which owns Coutts, apologised to the lawmaker for “deeply inappropriate comments” made about him in official papers and announced that she was “commissioning a full review of the Coutts processes” for closing bank accounts.
Dame Alison Rose said: “No individual should have to read such comments and I apologise to Mr Farage for this.”
The Treasury announced that it was tightening regulations for UK banks on the closure of client accounts as part of revisions intended to safeguard free speech.
It implies that banks will be required to provide justification for closing an account. They have never before been required to give a justification for their actions.
According to the Treasury, the change is meant to make it simpler for customers to file a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service if they believe their account has been unfairly cancelled.
Additionally, the warning window for a forced account closure has been increased from 30 to 90 days.