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Clause 1 - Deputy Governors

Part of Financial Services Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 21st February 2012.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Minister (Treasury) 12:00 pm, 21st February 2012

We have touched on some very specific aspects of the drafting of clause 1. I hope that the Committee was not offended by my simple questions about the difference between the indefinite and definite article, but there were some pretty important questions to do with the court of the Bank of England, including whether it will have a proper supervisory function and whether the membership will have sufficient diversity as well as merit.

There are some more substantial questions in clause 1 generally that merit pause for thought, chief of which is the creation of the post of the deputy governor for the Prudential Regulation Authority, which is a new principal actor in policy making. Hector Sants, who will be the chief executive of the new body, will be deputy governor, and is already in post ahead of this legislation, which is a slight issue. He is doing his job well but, stepping away from the individuals, it is a shame that Parliament increasingly finds itself legislating for changes which are coming into place. As the Government have learned to their cost in the Health and Social Care Bill, making a whole set of structural and expensive constitutional changes before legislation receives Royal Assent can be fraught with difficulties. If this Bill receives Royal Assent, we will have the PRA and the Financial Conduct Agency, with a deputy governor for the PRA being put in place. We are where we are with the legislation, although much of change has already taken place.