Electronic Money, Payment Services and Payment Systems (Amendment and Transitional Provisions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 - Motions to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 6th November 2018.

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Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Minister of State, Department for International Development 4:00 pm, 6th November 2018

We are trying to address that through the whole strategy of enhanced equivalence, which seeks to make sure that our regulations that we are introducing here are as compliant and consistent as possible with those that already exist and that we have transposed into UK law from the European Union. So we hope there would not be the potential for the hiccup that the noble Baroness referred to.

The noble Baroness also asked whether we could keep the cross-border payments regulation. The CBPR sets limits on charging for cross-border euro transactions. Were the CBPR to be automatically retained in UK law, it would be inoperable. Applying the CBPR to UK payment service providers making cross-border euro payments to the EEA would place obligations on them which they could not fulfil. These SIs are for a no-deal scenario. They do not prejudge the outcome of any future agreement.

On the safeguarding front, we believe that the most prevalent method used to safeguard funds is for firms to hold them in a segregated account with a credit institution. A significant number of UK firms hold safeguarding accounts in the rest of the EU and they will still be able to do so once this SI comes into force.

The noble Baroness, Lady Kramer, and the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, asked what happens if an EEA passporting payments firm does not apply to enter the temporary permissions regime. Firms should enter the temporary permissions regime which will allow them to continue to carry out their business as before, writing new contracts and servicing existing contracts. This will enable them to obtain UK authorisation and transfer business to a UK entity as necessary.

My noble friend Lord Kirkhope asked about the geographic scope of the SI. It is broadly in line with the geographic scope of SEPA. However, it does not include three existing non-EEA country participants within SEPA: Switzerland, San Marino and Monaco. This is because EU law does not include those three countries and therefore it is not possible to include them in UK law under the EU withdrawal Act.

The noble Baroness, Lady Kramer, and my noble friend Lord Kirkhope asked what the criteria are for participating in SEPA as a non-EEA country. A number of the provisions are here but I will not go into all the detail about the tests. However, for the record and in response to the specific questions, they will cover areas such as the capital requirements directives, the money laundering directives and the Rome convention on the law applicable to contractual obligations. Finally, they must demonstrate that all United Nations Security Council financial sanctions are implemented to the same extent as they are implemented and regulated within the EU itself

My noble friend Lord Kirkhope asked about the justiciability of part 2 statements. Part 2 statements made about these instruments are statutory requirements under the EU withdrawal Act and are intended to assist the House in considering the proposed exercise of the powers under that Act.

The noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, asked what would happen to these SIs for a no-deal scenario in the event of a deal. I think I have covered that. The Government White Paper on the EU withdrawal agreement Bill states that provision may be needed to defer, revoke or amend SIs and that is likely to be included in the withdrawal agreement Bill.

My noble friend Lord Kirkhope asked me to explain the consequences of the sunset clause referred to in paragraph 7.4 of the Explanatory Memorandum. The power in the EU withdrawal Act to fix deficiencies in retained EU law falls away two years after exit day. This was debated during the passage of the Bill—now the Act—but instruments made during that two-year period will remain in force after it ends.

The power to revoke was addressed by my noble friend Lord Kirkhope and the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe. This relates to the credit transfers and direct debits regulations. The entirety of credit transfers and direct debits in euro regulation would be revoked in those circumstances. The relevant articles of the Payment Services Regulations could be revoked via the negative procedure by statutory instruments.

I turn now to the question of the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, about what will happen if the UK is unsuccessful in its application to SEPA. I mentioned that UK Finance has submitted an application. SEPA enables efficient, low-cost euro payments to be made between participants. In the unlikely event that the UK does not maintain participation in SEPA, UK consumers would face higher transaction costs and longer transaction times when making euro payments. That is why we want these provisions in the event of no deal, but it remains the firm resolve of Her Majesty’s Government to seek a deal so that these no-deal scenario provisions are not required.

The noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, asked about the criteria for participating in SEPA as a non-EEA country. I mentioned the criteria earlier in terms of capital requirements and anti-money laundering et cetera.

The noble Lord then asked about impact assessments. I began by explaining the situation there and where we are coming from. I would just add that we have prepared an impact assessment and hope to publish it shortly.

On the whole, these SIs will reduce significantly the costs to businesses in the event of a no-deal scenario; without them, the legislation would be defective and firms would be left to deal with an unworkable and inconsistent framework that would disrupt their businesses substantially. In making these changes, we have attempted to minimise the disruption to firms and their customers, as well as maintain continuity of service provision. That is the purpose of the SIs. I beg to move.

Motions agreed.