Debates between Baroness Noakes and Baroness Barran during the 2019 Parliament

Mon 21st Jun 2021
Dormant Assets Bill [HL]
Grand Committee

Committee stage & Committee stage

Dormant Assets Bill [HL]

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Baroness Barran
Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I hear what my noble friend the Minister has said—that she was speaking to my amendment and that of the noble Baroness, Lady Bowles, which both rely on the loans to reduce the amount of reserving. That is not what my amendment said at all. Mine was based on more explicitly recognising that the Treasury de facto now stands behind the company and that anything else is a complete fiction.

My noble friend talked about industry needing confidence in the scheme being independent of government. Frankly, the whole world has changed: the Treasury now owns 100% of the capital and it has been reclassified as public sector. The fact of life is that this is a public body and its “separate legal entity” nature is just a fiction.

If the Treasury wanted to release more for good causes, it could. That is at the heart of the issue; anything else is some form of dissembling. So I personally am not satisfied with the Minister’s response today. I do not think meeting the chief executive of the Reclaim Fund Ltd will get us any closer to the heart of the matter. The issue is: why will the Treasury not step up to the plate and recognise that it now carries responsibility for the amounts released, and that in public sector terms there is no good reason to withhold significant sums for tail risk?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I accept that I am not going to convince my noble friend this afternoon. Although she may see the fact that Reclaim Fund Ltd is a separate legal entity regulated by the FCA as a fiction, I respectfully disagree. She will decide whether she wishes to meet those from Reclaim Fund Ltd. The reason I felt that it might be helpful is that it may clarify to what extent the current level of reserving is “excessive”, as it was described in the debate this afternoon.