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Financial Services: Growth Support

Volume 745: debated on Tuesday 6 February 2024

The Government are taking ambitious steps to grow the UK’s world-leading financial services sector, with widespread industry support. To take one example, reforms to Solvency II will help to spur a vibrant, innovative and internationally competitive insurance sector. The reforms will unlock £100 billion-worth of productive investment to grow the economy in every constituency over the next 10 years.

I thank my hon. Friend for his answer but, clearly, to grow the financial services industry, investors must have confidence that their money is safe. I have written to him about the Woodford equity scandal, of which there are many thousands of victims across the country. The Financial Conduct Authority refused to intervene, so will he now intervene and take action to ensure that the investors get at least a large part of their money back?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question, for writing to me and for standing up for the rights of his constituents. It is important the House knows that over 90% of investors voted to accept the scheme of arrangement. It is now up to the court to decide whether to approve it, and I therefore will not comment on it any further. I am happy to be in constant dialogue with him on this matter, as on many others.

As the Minister knows, the Northern Ireland Assembly sits for the first time today to make a change for Northern Ireland. We would very much like to be part of the financial services sector, so what can he and the Government do to support the Northern Ireland Assembly in relation to the financial services sector, and to ensure that we in Northern Ireland can be part of this great country of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland? Always better together.

I strongly echo the hon. Gentleman’s sentiments. I am very happy to engage with him and his colleagues from Northern Ireland to see what more I can do in the Treasury to work with him and, indeed, the Northern Ireland Executive, particularly to encourage our financial services institutions to invest more in Northern Ireland. I am very happy to discuss ways in which we can do that.