City of London
The Green Party's finance spokesperson has said a lack of state oversight was to blame for the 2008 financial crisis, not the culture in the City of London's financial industry. Reuters

The City has been rocked by multiple scandals since the 2008 financial crisis, but it is a "red herring" to suggest there is something wrong with the sector's culture, according to the Green Party.

Molly Scott Cato, the party's finance spokeswoman, told IBTimes UK that the real issues are with the way the financial firms are organised and a lack of oversight from the state.

"I don't think it's about the culture – it's a bit of a red herring. It's about the wrong structures," the MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar said.

"If you effectively give a bank a licence to print money, as we do with the banking model we have got at the moment, then you must require particular standards of them. You must regulate them very carefully. It's a failure of regulation rather than a failure of culture."

But Scott Cato, a member of the Economics and Monetary Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, stressed that bankers found to have been engaged in fraud should be prosecuted.

The former University of Roehampton professor pointed to the Libor-fixing scandal, when some banks like Barclays were caught manipulating a major interest rate, as an example.

She also wants more to be done when it comes to bankers' bonuses, after the European Union limited the payouts to no more than twice fixed salary.

The cap was designed to reduce excessive risk-taking in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. But banks have been able to get around the restriction by boosting base salaries and hiking other forms of remuneration.

"We are quite keen to look at that again and make sure that they aren't able to get round what was a very clear political change," she said.

Scott Cato spoke to IBTimes UK at her party's spring conference in Liverpool, after Natalie Bennett had delivered her speech.

Scott Cato said she was "very confident" with Bennett, as the Green leader is set to take part in the TV debates ahead of the general election.

Bennett received a standing ovation when she addressed the party faithful and announced that a Green government would introduce free social care for the over-65s.

The Australian-born politician argued that the policy would make Britain a more "decent, humane and caring" country.

The Greens received a pre-election boost yesterday when an opinion poll from YouGov put them on 8%: well above their 1% share of the vote in 2010.