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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

We are talking about a no-deal scenario, which we cannot fully anticipate or set out in legislation. However, there would be a full discussion and additional legislation in those circumstances.

For the benefit of the House, I want to clarify the industry engagement that has been undertaken on this Bill. The Treasury engaged with industry ahead of the introduction of the Bill, and the financial services industry has been expecting many of the files for some time. For example, the industry will be generally supportive of the changes that will be implemented with the European market infrastructure regulation regulatory fitness and performance programme—EMIR REFIT—file, which introduces changes to regulations for clearing and reporting requirements, to make them more proportionate and to provide further clarifications. We have been engaging to deliver what the industry expects.

With respect to accepting EU laws after exit, the Bill is not about accepting such laws wholesale. We will be able to implement only those pieces of legislation that are beneficial to the UK, because we will be able to choose the files, or specific provisions within those files, that we are going to implement. For those files that we have already agreed at EU level but not yet implemented, we will be able to fix deficiencies similar to what was done in relation to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. For those files on which negotiations will be ongoing at the point of exit, we will be able to make some adjustments to them to take account of the fact that we will not be around the negotiating table when they will be finalised.

Moving on to the model for financial services regulation more generally, the Government of course recognise that this legislation should apply only for an interim period while we consider a sustainable, longer-term approach that balances the need to ensure appropriate parliamentary oversight of financial services legislation after leaving the EU with the need to maintain the flexibility and competitiveness of our regulatory regime. That is why the model in the Bill would apply only for a temporary, non-extendable two-year period post exit, specifically in a no-deal scenario, and to specified EU files only. The Government will take forward our approach for a sustainable long-term model in due course.

Turning to the points made by the hon. Member for Wakefield, the UK has publicly led on the development of sustainable finance, as she set out, and the Government are committed to the sustainable finance agenda and are a leader in green finance. That is why we have included these files in the Bill. We recognise that the files form part of the EU’s response to the Paris climate change agreement and the UN sustainable development goals. The Government support the aims of the files and do not consider them harmful to industry at their current stage of development. As such, we were pleased to add them to the schedule to the Bill, and we thank the noble Lords who recommended their inclusion.

I stress again that this legislation involves a temporary measure, with the delegated power limited by a two-year sunset clause and subject to the affirmative procedure in each and every instance of its use. Following constructive engagement in the other place, the Bill is clearer about the power contained within it and has much stronger reporting requirements than at its introduction.

I thank all right hon. and hon. Members for their contributions to this debate. I am sure that we can agree on the importance of continuing to support the UK’s world-leading financial services industry in any future scenario. I look forward to discussing the Bill further in Committee, and I commend it to the House.

Question put, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

The House divided:

Ayes 293, Noes 248.