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Oversight Committee

Part of Financial Services Bill (Money) (No. 2) – in the House of Commons at 7:45 pm on 10th December 2012.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Minister (Treasury) 7:45 pm, 10th December 2012

In Labour’s view, amendment 25 ought to allow that. If we are talking about ease of access to affordable financial services, it should be a responsibility of the FCA to think of new ways to map what is happening across the country and to ensure that there are not these deserts or vacuums of poor availability or no availability. That is why there should be a requirement for a map to be drawn up of where and what lending is available, perhaps on a postcode-by-postcode basis. It would provide transparency and enable hon. Members to find out what is happening in their constituencies. Anecdote is not adequate; we need a more rigorous system of regulation and monitoring. That is how it is often done in other developed countries, such as the US, as my hon. Friend said.

In the past, Ministers have said that they are opposed to that level of transparency. I am not sure about this Minister—I know he will want to take a fresh perspective—but previous Ministers said: “It’s too burdensome to require transparency in respect of lending patterns, and there might be anti-competitive issues as well.” It would be entirely feasible to collect anonymised data in the way suggested, however, and I hope that Lords amendment 25 could be so interpreted.