Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill [HL] - Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Minister of State, Department for International Development 6:15 pm, 8th January 2019

My Lords, first, I am sure that I speak for the whole Committee in thanking the noble Lord for his succinctness in presenting his amendment. I recognise the old adage that everything needs to be said but not everyone needs to say it. That is a good principle. In following him in that spirit, I will put on the record a few comments that I believe will be helpful for our wider debates.

We appreciate the concerns across the Committee regarding the Henry VIII powers and, where they are proposed, it is clear that their necessity must be well evidenced. In the case of the financial services legislation, to which the power in this Bill will apply, I hope that noble Lords will accept the need for such a power.

An inability to amend existing primary legislation such as the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 will render it impossible to implement this necessary body of legislation. Further, as noble Lords will be aware, the exercise of many functions under financial services legislation is carried out by the independent regulators—the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England. The capacity and expertise of the financial regulators will be absolutely crucial to the effective implementation of these pieces of legislation and, consequently, to the resilience and prosperity of the financial services sector here in the UK.

The amendment would remove the ability to delegate to the regulators because, as a general rule, a power to make secondary legislation does not include a power to sub-delegate. An inability to effectively delegate powers to the regulators in implementing the legislation contained in this Bill would severely undermine the value of transposing the original legislation into UK law. In many cases, it would effectively render legislation unenforceable, and the Bill would simply not be able to achieve its central goal of ensuring that the UK continues to be an attractive and competitive place to do business in the immediate two-year period post exit, in the unwelcome and unlikely event of a no-deal scenario. Given this context and the context of the previous debate, I invite the noble Lord to consider withdrawing his amendment.