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Clause 1 - Deputy Governors

Part of Financial Services Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:15 am on 21st February 2012.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Minister (Treasury) 11:15 am, 21st February 2012

I am grateful to the Minister for clarifying that the oversight committee will have powers to scrutinise policy making, not just the procedural elements. That is quite an important point; it is a concession that should be welcomed. I am not, though, sure that it goes as far as it could by, say, creating a sub-committee of three non-executive members, or however many it might be, of the court of the Bank of England. Possibly even two would be sufficient to constitute a committee; I do not know. We already have a court of fairly limited size, and if this is going to an oversight sub-committee, we need a little more detail on that.

If the Minister can bring back a little bit more information on the Bank’s intentions on that when we come to discuss similar issues later in the Bill, that would be useful not just to myself but to other members of the Committee who are discussing some of these questions today.

I am happy not to press amendment 2 to a vote, but the principles are twofold when it comes to amendment 1. Of course the Minister is correct about what that supervisory board does, but we tabled this amendment because of the in-principle question about the tone with which the court conducts itself and the role it will have. Moreover, the phrase “court of the Bank of England” is an anachronism and something that should be replaced. If the hon. Gentleman claims to be a modernising Treasury Minister who believes in updating the terms in the Bill, he should surely move away from this outdated description. The Treasury Committee strongly recommends that. For those reasons, I seek to put amendment 1 to the vote.