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Clause 42

Part of Banking Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 11th November 2008.

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Photo of Peter Viggers Peter Viggers Conservative, Gosport 4:45 pm, 11th November 2008

I am grateful to the Minister. We have had an exchange a bit like this before, when—perhaps as a tribute to my incredibly advanced years—I was harking back to the days when the Bank of England was able to carry out its negotiations and discussions behind closed doors. The Minister pointed out that we have to move on, that we have to recognise that we are in the 21st century and that such outdated practices are no longer possible. I regret that the old idea of the Bank working quietly and privately is no longer possible, because the proposed structure is undoubtedly mechanistic and gives the Government powers that they have never had before.

I express caution on behalf of the banking profession—including the British Bankers Association and others—which is concerned that we should not put permanent legislation in place until a great deal of thought has been given to the overall structure. We are where we are, and we have some way to go yet in the Bill, but I put these comments down as a marker to Government and support my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Hertfordshire in expressing concern about the comprehensive nature of the powers that can be given to Government.