All 1 Lord Leigh of Hurley contributions to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023

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Tue 27th Jun 2023
Financial Services and Markets Bill
Lords Chamber

Consideration of Commons amendments

Financial Services and Markets Bill Debate

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Department: HM Treasury

Financial Services and Markets Bill

Lord Leigh of Hurley Excerpts
Lord Leigh of Hurley Portrait Lord Leigh of Hurley (Con)
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My Lords, I want to comment on Motion B, which no one has addressed. I congratulate the Minister, her colleagues, the Bill team and all the Peers who have contributed to this 337-page whopper of a Bill, which has been broadly welcomed by all. I remind your Lordships of my declaration of interests, which includes the fact that I am an employee of an FCA-regulated business that is currently seeking to merge with another FCA-regulated business.

That takes me to Amendment 10. Within the Bill are the important amendments to Sections 1B and 1E of FSMA 2000. Amendment 10 seeks to add subsection (2)(ca) to the already strong provisions for consumer protection in Section 1C(2)(a) to (h). I agree with my noble friend the Minister that we should not push through Amendment 10.

I can tell my noble friend the Minister and fellow Peers that in the market the Bill is desperately sought. There is still huge frustration at the FCA about the time taken to progress and execute transactions. That has been a significant block on economic growth, which is one of the objectives that the FCA will now have. I ask the Minister to ensure that the FCA is aware of its new objectives and requirements and that this actually takes place in practice.

Baroness Chapman of Darlington Portrait Baroness Chapman of Darlington (Lab)
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My Lords, we on these Benches supported all three of the amendments that we are discussing today when we looked at them last time, including Amendment 7, which would expand the regulatory principle on net-zero emissions to include conservation and nature. We also voted for Amendment 36, imposing a duty on those conducting regulated activity to conduct due diligence with the aim of preventing illegal deforestation.

We have listened carefully to what the Minister has said and will be listening to what she says in response to this debate, particularly to the questions asked by the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott. However, I thank the Minister for her openness in engaging with these issues and for the amendments in lieu, which demonstrate an agreement with your Lordships that these are issues that the Government need to address urgently. They may not be doing so in a way that we would have preferred today, but it is right that we acknowledge the moves that the Government have made.

Amendment 10 in my name would require the FCA to take financial inclusion into account when advancing its consumer protection objective of securing an appropriate degree of protection for consumers. The Government disagree with that amendment, saying they consider that the FCA is already able to tackle issues of financial inclusion within its remit. We argue that the problem is that the Government have failed to address our key concern in tabling the amendment, which is about the poverty premium—that is, the extra costs that poorer people pay for essential services such as insurance, loans or credit cards.

We see this Bill as something of a missed opportunity to build a strong future for our financial services and rethink financial resilience, including how some of the wider well-being issues are tackled by the regulator in the future. Everybody should be able to access the financial services they need, regardless of their income or circumstances. Although we do not intend to push this to another vote today, I can assure noble Lords that we will be returning to this subject at every opportunity—especially if that opportunity arrives in the form of a Labour Government.

For now, I place on the record our sincere thanks, particularly to the noble Baronesses, Lady Hayman and Lady Boycott, who have been highly effective in raising nature and deforestation issues. I also thank my noble friends Lord Livermore and Lord Tunnicliffe for their work on this Bill. We are probably at the end of it now. I note what the noble Lord, Lord Leigh, said about the need to get this Bill through and on to the statute books for the benefit of this important sector.