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Labour vow on Finance Bill failings

Labour says it will “devote as long as it takes” to address the “serious failings” in the Financial Services Bill, which were highlighted by the Treasury select committee.

Last week, the TSC published a report detailing criticisms of the bill, including concerns over the governance and accountability of the Bank of England and the objectives of the Financial Conduct Authority.

It also criticised the fact that time limits in the Commons meant significant parts of the bill and amendments to it went undebated or did not get detailed responses from Treasury financial secretary Mark Hoban. There are no such time limits in the Lords.

Speaking during the first debate on the bill in the Lords this week, Labour Treasury spokesman in the upper chamber Lord Eatwell said it is vital the new legislation is effective.

He said: “Last week, noble Lords were no doubt surprised to receive a passionate entreaty from the Treasury committee insisting the bill had been cobbled together with undue haste and had not received adequate consideration.

“I can assure the Treasury committee its despairing plea will not go unanswered. We intend to devote just as long as it takes to sort out this flawed bill and thank goodness that the procedures of this house will allow us to do so.”

He said Labour will bring forward proposals for significant changes to the bill during its committee stage, set to get under way on June 27.

Peers reacted angrily when the Government whip Baroness Garden tried to hurry Lord Lamont who was commenting on the bill during the debate. Lord Lucas said whips have “no business telling us what to do”.

Derbyshire Booth Financial Management managing director Greg Heath says: “Given the problems that emerged with the FSA, the Lords need to take their time and get this right.”

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