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Clause 191

Banking Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:45 pm on 28th October 2008.

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Pretending to be recognised

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke Shadow Minister (Treasury)

The clause states that it is an offence to pretend to be recognised under these provisions. If I remember correctly, the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 has similar provisions. I do not know whether the Minister is in a position to tell us how frequently prosecutions have been brought under those provisions. I know that there have been some and in those circumstances they tend to be very much at the retail end. Given that participants in inter-bank payment systems will be banks and sophisticated institutions, does the Minister think it necessary to do this and to have this provision?

Secondly, will a central list of recognised inter-bank payment systems be available on the Bank of England website, in the way that there is a list of authorised entities on the FSA website? There is a legitimate point about wanting to make it clear which entities are recognised and where participants could get some sort of regulatory protection. Does the Minister intend to have such a list? In those circumstances it would not really be necessary to have this provision. I do not see that it does any great harm, but I am not sure that it adds to the efficacy of the provisions we are debating today.

Photo of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, Economic Secretary, HM Treasury

This is yet another backstop. I perfectly accept the logic of the hon. Gentleman’s argument. It is not the policy intention that any value should be attached  to a payment system being recognised as such. However, simply to deter operators of payment systems from trying to exploit the new framework in such a way it is necessary to impose a criminal offence on anyone who wilfully misrepresents a payment system as being recognised when it is not. It is highly unlikely that someone would want to do that, but I am advised that it is helpful to have a deterrent there. That is what the clause does.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 191 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 192 ordered to stand part of the Bill.