Amendment 11

Part of Financial Services and Markets Bill - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 12:15 pm on 8 June 2023.

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Photo of Baroness Kramer Baroness Kramer Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Treasury and Economy) 12:15, 8 June 2023

My Lords, the amendments in this group fall essentially into two categories. Those that improve communication and representation to statutory panels are small but positive improvements and, although I remain of the view that these panels should be given proper independence, I am glad to see that at least there is some improvement in the regime.

The other amendments I view very differently, and I will pick up the issues raised by the noble Lords, Lord Vaux and Lord Davies of Brixton, that if the reporting requirements included a proper consideration of how the competitiveness and growth objectives as they became operational were also impacting on financial stability, systemic risk and consumer protection, I would find myself very much in favour of them. But actually I regard them as a sort of slightly disguised mechanism to enhance the status of the secondary objectives to something which I think the noble Lord, Lord Eatwell, described on Monday as “secondary plus”, or even “secondary plus plus”. I think that is exactly what these various amendments are intended to do.

This House knows well that I join Sir Paul Tucker, Sir John Vickers, pretty much every former Governor of the Bank of England and many others in regretting the introduction of these objectives because, for exactly the reason that others have said, they will incentivise and drive risky behaviour and we will come to rue that. So this further enhancement of these secondary objectives, very much driven by the industry—we heard from the noble Lord, Lord Ashcombe, how strong the feeling was that we try and get towards making these objectives either primary or close to primary—should be a warning to all of us. So I cannot give these amendments my support, although we are obviously not going to vote on them today. However, it is necessary that the House takes note of some degree of warning.