Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill — Report (1st Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:15 pm on 26th November 2013.

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Photo of Lord Eatwell Lord Eatwell Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury) 9:15 pm, 26th November 2013

My Lords, we of course look forward with interest to the amendments that the Government will put down at Third Reading. However, I was somewhat disturbed by newspaper reports suggesting that the Government are going to ask the FCA to formulate a policy on the level of the cap. That would be entirely inappropriate. It is for the Government to formulate and to define the objectives of the policy and for the FCA to then implement it. The FCA may, on the basis of research, be charged with setting the level of the cap in relation to principles defined by the Government, but it is up to the Government to specify those principles, specify the objectives and, indeed, design the policy. We do not want to hear a cop-out, where the Government declare, to general acclaim, that they are going to cap payday loans and then hand the whole design of the policy over to an organisation which is a regulator and not designed, in and of itself, for the formulation of policy.

I hope that the Minister can give us some reassurance that when these amendments are brought forward at Third Reading, they will contain clear objectives, principles and processes that will define the approach and policy that the Government are prepared to implement with respect to payday loans and that the responsibility that is then handed to the FCA will be one of implementation, not of policy design.