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Conservative conference blog: White Paper or blank paper?

I must say that this conference has left me a little confused and feeling slightly short changed on Conservative financial services policy.

Following Osborne’s White Paper on Financial Services I was expecting to see much more flesh added to the bones. However, the exact opposite seems to have happened.

As was widely trailed last week, Osborne is backing down on the ‘scrapping of the FSA’, this demolition appears to now be more of a rebadging exercise spread out over a number of years – this was reaffirmed by Ken Clarke yesterday evening at a FT fringe.

Furthermore the grand announcement of the ‘installation of a senior minister to the Treasury for European Financial Supervision’ seems little more than ‘money for old rope’.

First of all when I asked Clarke about the responsibilies of this senior minister, he was unaware the position existed and was less than sure about the White Paper his colleague had announced (slightly worrying given that many tip him to be the next Chancellor)? Second, when Sir James Sasson was on hand to explain that someone within the Treasury team will be responsible for EU FS policy I couldn’t help but think that Lord Myners already has responsibilty in this area.

So two big annoucements in the field of financial services which on closer inspection ammount to little more than a relocation for a some FSA staff and the reaffirming of a position that already exists.

Should we next look out for personal accounts being changed to personal savings and further phasing…. And a senior minister responsible for Taxation???


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