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Part of Bank of England and Financial Services Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 15th December 2015.

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Photo of Lord Eatwell Lord Eatwell Non-affiliated 4:30 pm, 15th December 2015

My Lords, I am impressed by the extensive lack of support for this amendment throughout the House. I say in response to what the Minister has said that, of course, the powers have developed and lessons have been learnt since the financial crisis, but I was referring to the recentralisation of powers rather than some of the extra powers that have resulted from the lessons learnt.

The main argument made against my amendment was that the power exists already. If the power exists already, the amendment does no harm—I have not heard anyone express the view that it does. However, the key reason for the need for my amendment was expressed clearly by the noble Lord, Lord Myners, who asked why conditions requiring members of a board to act were in the Bill at all. They are in the Bill because the action has not been present in the past. It is because of this lack of action that Parliament has lost a degree of confidence in relying just on the actions of the court and has decided that, to ensure appropriate transparency and efficiency in the operations of the court, it may be required to do certain things. That is why the Government have put into the Bill measures instructing the court to behave in particular way and why my amendment is there—because the court has not always responded to the requests of the Treasury Select Committee. It has not, for example, responded to repeated requests to publish a detailed review of its own actions during the financial crisis. My amendment, small in terms of changing circumstances though it might be, would have assisted the development of the democratic accountability of the Bank. However, in the circumstances, given the widespread lack of support around the House, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 2 (to Amendment 1) withdrawn.

Amendment 1 agreed.

Clause 4: Functions of non-executive directors

Amendments 3 and 4

Moved by Lord Bridges of Headley

3: Clause 4, page 4, line 10, leave out subsection (2)

4: Clause 4, page 4, line 22, leave out “2” and insert “3”

Amendments 3 and 4 agreed.

Clause 5: Financial stability strategy

Amendment 5

Moved by Lord Bridges of Headley

5: Clause 5, page 4, line 27, leave out subsections (1) to (7) and insert—

“( ) Paragraph 11 of Schedule 1 to the Bank of England Act 1998 (matters which may be delegated by court of directors) is amended as follows.

( ) In sub-paragraph (2) after “paragraph” insert—

“(a) include duties and powers conferred on the court of directors by section 9A (financial stability strategy), but

(b) except as mentioned in paragraph (a),”

( ) After sub-paragraph (2) insert—

“(3) The court of directors retains responsibility for a duty or power which it delegates under this paragraph.””

Amendment 5 agreed.

Clause 11: Examinations and reviews

Amendment 6

Moved by Lord Bridges of Headley

6: Clause 11, page 9, line 28, leave out “general policy in pursuing the Bank’s” and insert “policy”