Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies (Environmentally Sustainable Investment) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:58 am on 11th September 2020.

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Photo of Ruth Edwards Ruth Edwards Conservative, Rushcliffe 11:58 am, 11th September 2020

I thank my hon. Friend for that example, which highlights why good intentions have to be underpinned by practical and well-thought-through proposals.

Finally, in January the Financial Conduct Authority put in place regulations prohibiting the promotion of functionally similar financial instruments—speculative versions of so-called mini-bonds—to public consumers. The reason for that was the collapse of several providers of such mini-bonds, in particular London Capital and Finance, for example, which ended up leaving 11,600 members of the public at risk of losing nearly £240 million in total.

In conclusion, although I completely back the concept of green investments and have backed strengthening the co-operative sector, I cannot back this Bill today because there are too many fundamental problems and uncertainties within it. The green and sustainable elements of it are not defined, and there are massive areas of risk for investors that have not been properly guarded against. As hon. Friend Ben Everitt pointed out, the Bill also risks undermining the integrity of the co-operative model. These are not details that I feel can be ironed out in Committee, but fundamental problems, which is why I cannot support the Bill today.