Clause 47 — Mutual societies: power to transfer functions
European Union Documents
William Cash (Stone, Conservative)
It may well. It behoves the Government to take this kind of amendment very seriously, despite drafting imperfections. It is important to the integrity of our financial system and, above all else, the sense of individual ownership in a mutual context for this movement not merely to be nudged along but to be massively encouraged. The more people have a stake as a result of being in a mutual condition, the better society will be.
I am completely in favour of capitalism—that might disappoint Opposition Members—but each category of activity in financial markets requires its own remedy, and the mutual system is vital to ensuring that there is a proper balance in society and that those who, for one reason or another, cannot get on to the capitalist ladder in the way that some can have the benefit of mutuals and can share in the prosperity that others provide. I regard that as a very important objective.
Even if the amendment is not perfect, the intention behind it is important. Wrapping the whole thing up in jargon—some of us are very familiar with jargon—will not solve the real problem in the way that mutual societies can. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will give careful attention to the objectives and purposes of mutuals, in the context of the amendment, and not simply say that the Opposition are talking nonsense or that the Opposition spokesmen are trying to be troublesome and criticise the coalition agreement. It is time we grew up, actually. By that I mean that instead of constantly talking about the Opposition as if they were simply trouble making and mischievous, we should recognise that in such matters we are trying to achieve something worth having.