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Bank of England and Financial Services Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 1st February 2016.

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Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 4:15 pm, 1st February 2016

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely correct that the Bill focuses specifically on the role of the National Audit Office, one independent arm of government, and the Bank of England, another independent agency. The Bill does not particularly focus on the role of auditors in private companies, but I am sure other parts of Parliament will consider that in this Session.

I turn first to the reforms that the Bill will make to the Bank of England. It introduces evolutionary changes to its governance, transparency and accountability to put it on the best possible footing to discharge its expanded responsibilities. These changes complement those taken by the Bank itself as part of its “One Mission, One Bank” strategic plan. The Prudential Regulation Authority will stop being a subsidiary of the Bank and instead be run by a committee of the Bank; another deputy governor will be able to join the court, the Bank’s governing body; and the Treasury will be able to send a remit letter to the Prudential Regulation Committee.

To strengthen the Bank’s transparency and accountability to Parliament and the public, we will give the National Audit Office the power to conduct value-for-money studies. Following debates in the other place and with the NAO and the Bank, we have made sure that that important change is implemented in a way that protects the independence of the Bank’s policy-making functions and of the NAO.