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Osborne exorcises Nimbys

The FSA’s move towards principle-based regulation echoes Tory leader David Cameron’s calls for shared responsibility and should be welcomed, says Shadow Treasury Financial Secretary Mark Hoban.

He said principle-based regulation gives businesses the freedom they need to meet the demands of the FSA.

Hoban said that firms must make their own decisions about how they achieve regulatory targets and recognise that the best way to withstand the constant pressure for new regulation is to demonstrate that they are giving consumers the best deal.

He warned that excessive regulation prices many consumers out of the market in financial services as providers will not offer products to people they consider to be unpro- fitable, citing the failure of stakeholder pensions as an example.

Consumer protection is vital but such regulations are useless if they end up excluding the target consumer from the process, said Hoban.

He said the Conservatives must look closely at what regulations damage financial services and which benefit it but there would be no “Dutch auction” to erode the regulatory landscape.

Hoban said: “I welcome the moves towards a principle-based approach to regulation. It gives businesses the operational freedoms they need to meet regulatory objectives and ties in with David Cameron’s call for shared responsibility in that businesses need to make their own decisions about achieving those regulations.”

The Conservative party must rid itself of the Nimby ghosts which have haunted its rec- ent past if it wants to solve supply problems in the housing market, says the Shadow Chancellor George Osborne.

Speaking at a Cicero Consulting and Policy Exchange event at the Conservative conference, Osborne said in the last few general elections the party had made the mistake of positioning itself against building new homes.

Osborne said this had meant that the Tories had been against homeownership and aspiration.

He said that to attract young aspirational voters, the party would have to produce policies that increased housing supply which would inevitably put it in conflict with certain conservationists and strands of the Party.

Osborne pointed out that until recently, homeownership had been central to the party’s success and the Tories must return to this agenda if they want to regain power.

“I am afraid that we got ourselves in this position because we were against building homes. For the first time in our history, we were ‘not in my back yard’ and that is a mistake, we have got to change that,” he said.

This view was backed up at a separate fringe event by Next chief executive Simon Wolfson who is co-chairing the Conservative’s economic competitiveness group with John Redwood.

Wolfson told the meeting that fresh ideas were needed to tackle the problem of affordable housing and said the group is looking at suggestions to speed up the planning process.

He said the group is also looking at proposals to reverse the burden of proof so it is the planners’ job to say no rather than for the developers to plead for a green light to build new homes on genuine brownfield sites.

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