Banking Bill — Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 20th January 2009.

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Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) 6:00 pm, 20th January 2009

I will try to be more succinct. I am trying to express that the authorities have to act at extremely short notice. We want them to have the powers to act in what is regarded as an emergency position with regard to a failing bank. In acting in those terms, they cannot be bound by legislation which constrains that legislation which is constructed to deal with more normal circumstances. We have debated one illustration for some time and I realise that I will not convince Members of the Opposition on this matter very readily. With regard to pensions, I indicated why we might not seek to interfere with the rights of the individual pensioner or to act along the lines of pension legislation requiring consultation with trustees, which might take months to effect, when action could be taken in the fairly immediate short term or the action is bound to fail.

All I am arguing is that this is broadly the position as regards Clause 75. We cannot spell out every circumstance of every emergency because they are not foreseeable. From past practice, we have seen the necessity for rapid action. But, by definition, I do not have an example to quote under the special resolution regime because we have not had it. But we are trying to anticipate how we would deal with an emergency position. In those circumstances, it might be necessary for us to be able to act in the way in which the clause envisages.