Amendment 61

Part of Professional Qualifications Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day) – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 22 June 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Labour), Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office, Constitutional and Devolved issues) 5:45, 22 June 2021

My Lords, my sister is not a chartered accountant, but she is an accountant. I do not know whether that is an interest to declare, but I should note that.

Unsurprisingly, I have a lot of sympathy with what the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, said. In fact, when the noble Lord first raised the possibility of this with me, I was really interested, but we were both quite surprised that somebody actually wanted to be regulated. As someone who has worked very much on the consumer side, I have tried to get people regulated and on the whole they have resisted. However, that falls apart, because we have now discovered in the letter that the ICAEW will be there.

Earlier, I read out the note that I had had from the ICAEW as a result of the Minister’s letter on Sunday, saying that it seemed as if the Government were “rushing through the legislation”. I did not quote this, but I will say it now:

“Between this Bill’s conclusion in the House of Lords and it beginning to go through the lower chamber, it is vital that BEIS take stock of this legislation, review its intended – and unintended – consequences, and engage with those regulators and professional bodies in scope to iron out any remaining concerns.”

As I said on the previous group, I hope that we will use the time between now and Report, rather than between now and when the Bill arrives in the other House, but it sounds as though the ICAEW and the other accountancy bodies have not yet had a discussion with departmental officials. I hope that that can be put in hand. I hope the Minister will be able to confirm, although maybe not at this moment, that those meetings have taken place so that, as the ICAEW says, any intended or unintended consequences are fully understood and any problems can be ironed out. I look forward to hearing from the Minister that that will take place.