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FS Bill is being rushed through without scrutiny, warns Leslie

Labour is warning the Financial Services Bill is being rushed through Parliament after only 80 of the bill’s 103 clauses were scrutinised by the public bill committee.

The remaining 23 clauses cover complaints against the regulator, its exemption from liability for damages and the special resolution regime, which is a tool developed in the wake of the banking crisis to wind down failed banks safely.

The bill, which will establish the new regulatory regime, finished the committee stage in Parliament this month in which amendments are proposed, debated and voted on.

Speaking to Money Marketing, Labour Shadow Treasury financial secretary Chris Leslie says he asked several times for the 16 committee scrutiny sessions to be extended.

He says: “I am very concerned that we have not had sufficient time to properly debte this bill. The Financial Services and Markets Act committee had 35 sessions of Commons’ scrutiny back in 1999, whereas this bill has had less than half that. Over 20 clauses of the bill have gone totally undebated and undiscussed.”

Treasury select committee chairman Andrew Tyrie has repeatedly criticised the speed at which the Government is pushing ahead, warning it risks failing to fix the FSA’s flaws.

The bill will now be debated in the Commons’ report stage on April 23, when further amendments can be proposed and voted on. It will then be sent to the Lords for further scrutiny.

Aifa policy director Chris Hannant says: “It is wrong that a detailed debate of a bill is curtailed in this fashion. We may end up with bad legislation.”

A Treasury spokesman says: “The proposed reforms have been subject to close Parliamentary and public scrutiny.”

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  1. It’s all very well for a Treasury spokesman to say that: “The proposed reforms have been subject to close Parliamentary and public scrutiny”, but what’s the point if no notice is taken of anything that any of those parties may have had to say about what they perceive to be wrong with those proposed reforms or what’s missing from them, not least on the issue of the longstop?

    Despite the oft-repeated lies that the FSA and FCA are/will continue to be independent of government, it’s quite obvious that regulation has for years and for the foreseeable future will continue to be a political football, the framework of which is dictated by government rather than arrived at by constructive negotiation between the regulator and the industry.

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