Report (1st Day)
Baroness Noakes (Shadow Minister, Treasury; Conservative)
I thought that I was going to have a rest. The amendment calls for regular financial and other information to be made available to Parliament in respect of nationalised banks. I was rather taken aback when in Committee the Minister said that this was not a problem, because the Treasury was always accountable to Parliament on everything. If only. I shall not, however, pursue that issue further, because the Government have tabled Amendment 60, which, although not as extensive as my amendment, goes some way to dealing with the basic issue of accountability to Parliament.
I intend to give way to the government amendment at the appropriate time; however, I wish to raise some detailed points. My amendment asks for a broader range of information than the activities mentioned in the government amendment and, in particular, asks for any details of guarantees. The need for better information about this latter aspect is dealt with in the recent report of the Treasury Select Committee in another place and, to some extent, crosses over with information that I seek in an amendment to Clause 227. I shall leave that issue until then.
However, there are some other important gaps in the information required to be sent to Parliament. First, there are banks already in public ownership by virtue of the 2008 Act. I noted in Committee that the lack of accountability information was a weakness of that Act. Secondly, there is no information about UK Financial Investments—a rather shady body which is being kept from public view—getting control of billions of pounds of taxpayers' money. These bodies are dealt with in my Amendment 19, but not in the Government's Amendment 60, which is why I have tabled Amendments 61, 62 and 63 to that government amendment. I look forward to the Minister's explanation of his amendment and his reasons for the exclusion of the important bodies to which I have referred. I beg to move.