Clause 66 - Powers of appointed person and procedure

Financial Services Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 pm on 20th March 2012.

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

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Minister (Treasury)

The clause is important. It is about giving teeth to the people appointed to make the inquiry. It is a strong clause and we are happy to support it. The clause will give the person appointed to make an inquiry a wide range of powers, but they will be subject to clause 65(3)(d), which empowers the Treasury to order the person to

“take only such steps as are specified in the direction”.

If there was a question of interpretation, it could become a source of conflict. Will the Minister reassure the Committee that that would not be the case and that the Treasury would not overrule the chair of the inquiry with that arrangement? That is the only question that I have on clause 66.

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Shadow Minister (Treasury)

In the interests of trying to make progress, I want to ask the Minister a couple of questions about the references in clauses 66 and 68 to the Court of Session in Scotland. Will those references be covered by the legislative consent motion, which has to go through the Scottish Parliament? Also, should any costs fall on courts in Scotland, are they covered by the expenses “reasonably incurred” referred to in clause 67? Would that be transferred from the UK Government to the Scottish Government?

Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

I will investigate the latter point. I made the point at the start that the provisions were by and large covered by section 14 of FSMA. I do not think there is any point in reopening issues that have been settled some years ago.

Regarding the powers under clause 66, we are making it clear that we are giving significant powers to the appointed person and the procedure. The powers under clause 65(3) are predominantly about the scope of the inquiry, rather than necessarily the sort of people who should be summoned before the inquiry to give witness or evidence or to provide documentation. Clause 66 is therefore not in any way constrained by clause 65(3).

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 66 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.