Term of office of non-executive directors

Bank of England and Financial Services Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 9 February 2016.

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

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

I am glad that you are finding it as confusing as I am, Mr Wilson, that there is a group 2 and a clause 2 and what have you. Clause 2 enables the Government to extend the appointment of a non-executive director. The standard length of appointment for a non-executive director is currently four years, and this will be maintained following the passage of the Bill. However, if necessary, the Government will have the power to extend the appointment by up to six months. If the individual is subsequently reappointed to the court, the length of their new tenure will be reduced by the length of the extension.

The ability to extend a non-executive director’s appointment provides a number of key benefits. First, the ability to extend the terms of appointments by a few months enables the end dates of non-executives to be staggered, which supports smooth transitions in membership, preventing a significant change in personnel at any one time. Secondly, should a member of the court resign or retire unexpectedly, extending the term of one or more non-executive directors can provide resilience during a potentially turbulent time. Finally, enabling this extension will bring the court in line with the FPC and the MPC, whose members can already have their term extended by up to six months.

Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Minister (Treasury)

I will be brief, because the Opposition are happy with the proposal to provide for the extension of the term of office of non-executive directors. However, we feel that this is an opportunity to highlight again the important role that non-executive directors can and should play, a point made effectively by my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw in the debate under clause 1. There was a clear suggestion in the other place that the Government believe that a smaller body of non-executive directors on the court would be more efficient, and the Minister has made that clear again. I take this opportunity to reiterate the point that it is necessary to ensure broad representation and the appointment of active and dedicated members. As my hon. Friend has indicated, the world would not come to a stop if there were broader representation, both geographically and in terms of life experience.

Photo of John Mann John Mann Labour, Bassetlaw

I warmly welcome—warmly—this clause, as I do the Minister’s confirmation to the hon. Member for East Lothian that the Government have no intention of removing the trade union representative from the court. I warmly welcome that. It is an exceedingly sensible approach that will resonate well beyond this place. This clause should be unanimously adopted.

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

Excuse me if I faint from astonishment, Mr Wilson. I do not think that that has ever happened to me before with the hon. Member for Bassetlaw.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 2 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 3