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MPs scathing at Diggle &#39diddle&#39

Treasury civil servant Paula Diggle has come under an unprecedented attack from MPs over moves to scrap polarisation.

The news comes as Money Marketing relaunches its Poles Apart campaign in a bid to support IFAs and resist any further change to the current polarisation regime.

At a meeting of the all-party insurance and financial services committee this week, MPs attacked head of home financial services Diggle for the “incestuous relationship” they claim she has with high-street banks.

Conservative MP John Butterfill said Treasury economic secretary Melanie Johnson&#39s department is dominated by civil servants who are determined to get rid of polarisation.

Chairman of the committee Tory MP John Greenway said the Government is committed to making stakeholder pensions a success and has agreed to scrap polarisation as a compromise with banks so they will offer stakeholder.

Greenway said the committee has long supported polarisation and the concept of independent advice.

MPs were especially concerned that, under FSA proposals, there is no external benchmark to ensure the best product is chosen by a provider looking to fill a gap in its own range.

The meeting was the first time MPs have formally discussed polarisation. MPs and lords from all parties heard Aifa director-general Paul Smee and LIA director of public affairs John Ellis voice concerns about the proposed changes.

As exclusively revealed in Money Marketing last week, Diggle is to leave the Treasury after eight years to join the Inland Revenue.

Butterfill said: “Polarisation has been consistently opposed by the Treasury and one particular civil servant who is now going off to the Inland Revenue has opposed it and she has won. This is Diggle&#39s diddle.”

Greenway said: “In Paula Diggle&#39s brave new world,you would have open competition but best advice goes right out the window.”

A Treasury spokesman says: “A significant number of civil servants in a range of departments have been involved in the development of polarisation policy. It was clearly a recommendation made by the FSA and accepted on its own merits by Melanie Johnson.”

l Poles Apart, p10-11

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