Financial Services Bill

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 5:48 pm on 6th February 2012.

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Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 5:48 pm, 6th February 2012

The Chancellor does not listen. He wants to play this game so much that he does not hear. I agree with the increase in his powers. He is right to take them, but he cannot use them unless the Governor comes to him and says, “I fear a crisis may be building,” having made a judgment about moral hazard outwith the views of the heads of the PRA, the FCA and the FPC.

In the structure set out in the Bill, the statutory office holders will be formally kept out of the room under the Chancellor’s own memorandum of understanding, which is foolish. I understand why it has happened—it will be easier to negotiate. In all the years when previous Chancellors wanted clarity, it was hard to negotiate. However, negotiating the wrong clarity in a way that keeps information away from the Chancellor is not stabilising and in the public interest but destabilising, opaque and against the public interest. The Chancellor should take some advice from people who have seen that not working and ensure that he hears the views of the people to whom he is giving statutory responsibility in the Bill. That is my very strong advice, and I hope he will listen to it.