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Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:10 pm on 11th February 2019.

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Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 7:10 pm, 11th February 2019

I am happy to respond to my hon. Friend’s intervention. I acknowledge his expertise in this area and his excellent article in the Investors Chronicle this week. I would point out that, just last summer, the FCA issued a call for input and sought industry views on the next steps for packaged retail investment and insurance products—PRIIPs. That consultation closed on 28 September and the FCA is reviewing the responses carefully. It will publish a statement in the first quarter of this year. When I next see the chief executive of the FCA, I will challenge him on that publication date.

Let me turn to the substantive thrust of the concerns raised in the debate. The first relates to the desirability of no deal. As I have said, we do not want a no-deal scenario, but we need to be responsible and to plan for all eventualities. Our priority remains getting approval for the deal that we have negotiated with our European partners, which will deliver on the democratic choice of the British people.

Turning to the other preparations, we have now laid 50 statutory instruments before Parliament. The allegation from the hon. Members for Oxford East (Anneliese Dodds) and for Stalybridge and Hyde (Jonathan Reynolds) was that there had been no coherence to the Government’s work, but as the hon. Lady will know, we will have had 53 statutory instruments. We have more debates tomorrow and on Wednesday, and I think several more next week. We are addressing the deficiencies in all the major EU files and the relevant domestic legislation. This will ensure that we have a functioning financial services regime at the point where we leave the EU in a no-deal scenario. Our aim throughout this work has been consistently to minimise disruption for firms and their customers and to provide a smooth transition when we leave the EU.

Alison Thewliss made a point about the breadth of the power in this legislation. We have worked hard to ensure that this is a clearly defined power and that changes cannot be made such that the implemented files depart in a major way from the original legislation. However, the Government will retain some flexibility to make adjustments to take account of the UK’s new position outside the European Union. The amendments proposed by the Government require the Treasury to publish draft SIs at least one month in advance of laying, as well as a report detailing where there have been omissions and changes and giving the justification for those changes. We believe that the report will allow parliamentarians to scrutinise the changes before the SIs are laid. If the UK were forced to take on EU legislation either in whole or not at all, it is likely that we would be able to domesticate very few of these files in good time, so even the positive aspects of the reforms would be delayed. This is a pragmatic measure to deal with the reality of a very undesirable situation, and our approach has been endorsed by the industry, with which we have engaged in the preparation of the Bill.