Financial Services Bill — Committee (2nd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:30 pm on 15th March 2010.

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Photo of Lord Myners Lord Myners Parliamentary Secretary, HM Treasury 9:30 pm, 15th March 2010

With the agreement of the noble Lord, Lord Northbrook, I will first answer the question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, which followed on from his earlier one. Of course, there is a lot of contact between the Bank of England and the banking community, particularly through Mr Paul Tucker, the deputy governor, and Mr Paul Fisher, another executive director of the Bank. I doubt whether there is a day when they do not meet people from the banking industry. But we are talking about the collection of data from banks. That data collection will go through the FSA because the first stage must be for the Bank of England to seek an understanding from the FSA where it already has the data or has data that will provide the answer to the question that the Bank is seeking to address. If that is not the case, that information request will be channelled through the FSA, which has formal links for the purposes of information gathering with all regulated and supervised banks in the United Kingdom.

On the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Northbrook, the three categories described are very broad, but that is consistent with our principle-based approach. If we are too specific, there is a danger that we limit ourselves and then find that new circumstances emerge that are not precisely contemplated in legislation. The language that focuses on principles and broad areas of authority without being too narrow or specific is consistent with the approach that we are seeking to adopt and will be supportive of the intention of the Bill.