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Clause 7

Part of Banking Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 am on 6th November 2008.

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Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban Shadow Minister (Treasury) 9:15 am, 6th November 2008

I do not have much to add to the comments of the hon. Member for South-East Cornwall, who highlighted the challenge posed by the wording of the Bill. It certainly seems that there is a low hurdle for the FSA to jump to trigger the powers. I shall touch on the issue of time scale, which the hon. Gentleman also mentioned. An institution might have a short-term funding problem for a week, but the position might be resolved in a month. What is the time scale for the exercise of the second condition? It is not clear how much leeway the authorities would give a business in that situation. We need to probe that matter. In part, it might be dealt with in a revised code. The hon. Gentleman and I have opted to strengthen the constraints in the Bill, but that might not be the best way, so we need some clarity about when the condition applies. The Bill states:

“Condition 2 is that having regard to timing and other relevant circumstances”.

Clearly timing is a key factor. I am not sure what “other relevant circumstances” those who drafted the Bill have in mind, but we need to understand the context in which the power would be exercised and how the regulator would define “not reasonably likely” in relation to that area.