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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Fran Boait:

I can build on that. I agree with a lot of what Jesse has said. For us, the overarching areas are accountability and seeing more that it in the Bill, the environmental, social and governance aspects, and the purpose. On that last point, while we understand the Bill is onshoring and tidying up, as I have said before, it sets the direction, and that strategy for the financial services sector has not been laid out by the Government. I think that is key because, as Jesse has mentioned, it is concerning to see competition and competitiveness in there—in the run-up to the crash, that was shorthand for deregulation—at the same time as handing a lot of power to regulators. Again, it is worth noting that the FCA chief executive said himself that they would prefer high standards to the idea of competition, so there is support for that. Making the direction clear is critical.

On a few specifics that have been left out, over the last few years Positive Money has been working on things such as access to cash and the need to protect people’s right of payment in different ways—I noted that there were a few questions on that—and thinking about financial inclusion. Thinking more about the financial services’ role in the wider UK economy is absolutely critical at this time, and there is not too much in the Bill in terms of the direction of that.