Examination of Witnesses

Part of Financial Services Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:11 pm on 19th November 2020.

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Jesse Griffiths:

I think it is extremely important that there should be some Committee, whether it is a financial services Committee or some other way of doing it, that gives Parliament that role. That could be operationalised in a number of different ways, but it should be done in a way that makes sure that consideration is given to the way the Bill and, I presume, future legislation delegate a lot of power to the Treasury and the regulators to change, through secondary legislation, regulations that were previously agreed jointly between the European Parliament and the European Council. Some kind of check that that has been done in the correct way, and that it has been done with regard to the fundamental purposes of that legislation, is the role that the Committee would fulfil.

Obviously it would need more resources, which is a key lesson from the European experience. You are right to say that it is not an easy thing to do, nor is it something that can be done in addition to what is already being done by the Treasury Committee, for example. Resources is a key point.

The second key point, of course, is that such a Committee, and potentially the Bill and some of the amendments that have been referenced, can allow the regulators to report and explain more clearly why they are making certain changes, so that is a useful transparency and information point. The third point is that, without such parliamentary oversight, it becomes extremely difficult for civil society organisations such as ours, which are trying to ensure that the voice of the environment and social issues are raised in financial sector regulation, to be heard as effectively as other voices that are trying to influence that regulation. So it helps to create a better balance of lobbying, if you like, or of advocacy in this area.