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UK Payments System

Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will bring forward legislation to ensure that the UK payments system is open to new competition as announced in his Budget Statement on 21 March 2000. (103420)

Following Don Cruickshank’s report on competition in UK banking, the Chancellor announced in the 2003 pre-Budget report that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) would set up a Payment Systems Task Force to examine UK payment systems. The Taskforce began work in spring 2004 and in September 2006 it reached agreement on a new model for payments systems governance. On 14 November 2006, the Chancellor approved the OFT’s recommendation to wind up the Task Force and to proceed with the creation of a new industry-led governing body to deliver improvements in payment systems, which will be reviewed after two years. In line with the Government’s better regulation agenda, the creation of this new body does not require legislation.

On 14 November 2006, I wrote to my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dumbartonshire (John McFall) in his capacity as Chair of the Treasury Select Committee to inform him of these developments. A copy of this letter has been placed in the Library of the House.