Relevant document: 23rd Report from the Delegated Powers Committee
My Lords, this Bill helps to deliver the Government’s vision for an open, sustainable and technologically advanced financial services sector. I thank all noble Lords for their valuable scrutiny and input, which has led to some important enhancements to this Bill. I formally thank the Opposition Front Benches, particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Chapman of Darlington, and the noble Lords, Lord Livermore and Lord Tunnicliffe, for their positive engagement and overall support for the Bill and its important aims. I also thank the noble Baroness, Lady Kramer, from the Liberal Democrats, supported by the noble Lord, Lord Sharkey, and the noble Baroness, Lady Bowles, for their thorough scrutiny and constructive debate. Finally, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Fox, for bringing his considerable expertise to the scrutiny of this Bill.
The Bill delivers the outcomes of the future regulatory framework review, giving the regulators significant new rule-making responsibilities while balancing that additional responsibility with clear accountability, appropriate democratic input and transparent oversight. Thanks to the positive engagement of this House, we can now be more confident that we have got that balance right.
I also thank my noble friends Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, Lord Bridges of Headley, Lord Holmes of Richmond and Lady Noakes, in particular, for their constructive challenge of the Government’s approach to the important issues that the Bill deals with. I hope that the package of amendments brought forward by the Government on Report demonstrates the open and collaborative way in which we have engaged with the important matters raised in this House.
The level of scrutiny and debate on the Bill rightly demonstrates the vital importance of the financial services sector to the UK economy. Financial and related professional services employ more than 2.5 million people across regional hubs in all four nations of the UK, and create £1 in every £10 of the UK’s economic output. Building on the strengths of our financial services sector is fundamental to its continued growth and to the wider economy. I am therefore pleased to see the Bill progress towards becoming law. It will allow us to begin the process of revoking EU law and replacing it with an approach that is guided by what is best for the UK.
Before the Bill returns to the Commons, I extend my thanks to the significant number of Treasury officials, in the Bill team and beyond, for their work in preparing such a substantial Bill and for their support in engaging fully with your Lordships’ scrutiny. I also recognise the work of the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel in drafting the Bill, and of House staff.
While the Bill is the culmination of a large amount of work over a number of years, it is also the foundation of much work still to come, and I look forward to continuing to discuss these important issues with noble Lords in the future. I beg to move.
My Lords, I thank the Minister for her kind words as she introduced this Third Reading. The Bill leaves the House in a much better condition than when it arrived. We have made changes to the Bill on the treatment of politically exposed people, financial inclusion and the FCA’s accountability to Parliament, and through measures that help to protect the environment. I thank all Members of the House who contributed to our consideration of the Bill, from both sides, and from the Liberal Democrats and Cross Benches, especially those from Peers for the Planet. I also thank the doorkeepers and House staff teams, and everyone who enables us to do our work.
I thank the Minister for her open and welcoming approach to our discussions. I particularly thank my noble friend Lord Livermore for doing more than his fair share of the work from Report onwards, and of course my noble friend Lord Tunnicliffe who led the Labour Party—he did not lead the Labour Party but led for the Labour Party; that was quite a thought experiment—throughout the long Committee stage. His advice and support have been invaluable. Lastly, I thank the outstanding Dan Stevens for his impeccable advice, preparedness and thoughtfulness.
We hope that the Government accept the Bill as amended and do not feel the need to bring it back to the House for further amendments.
My Lords, I join in the thanks to the Minister, who has been very generous with her time, as has the Bill team, and who provided us with explanations and listened to our issues and concerns. I also give particular thanks to my noble friends Lord Sharkey and Lady Bowles on my Benches, who bring extraordinary expertise and analysis to all these issues. They covered for me while I was recovering from surgery, and I very much appreciate their willingness to pick up and carry that burden.
I join in the good words about the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe. He has been an absolute stalwart on this entire portfolio. He is phenomenal in dealing with statutory instruments especially—an area that most of us avoid. I will miss the opportunity to be with him on these Benches, as it were, when these issues come forward again. He might have made a very good leader of the Labour Party, I should say. I also thank the noble Baroness, Lady Chapman, and the noble Lord, Lord Livermore, for the final stages and their close working. The Cross Benches have been quite exceptional on this Bill, as, frankly, have some on the Back Benches of the Conservative Party. It has been an excellent example of cross-party working in the interests of better governance.
A striking feature of the Bill has been that common concern, particularly focused on the issues of parliamentary scrutiny and the accountability of regulators to Parliament. There have been modest steps to improve the Bill on those issues, but there is a great deal more to be done. I remain concerned, as do my Benches, about the risk being injected back into the financial services sector, but again, that is business for another day. We hope that the Bill will go through unamended in the other House. The improvements that come particularly from Peers for the Planet and from those involved in financial inclusion have been important. Again, my thanks to the attendants and the others who have supported us so well throughout this entire process.
I join in the gratitude expressed to the Minister, who has been her usual courteous and committed self in discussing the considerable amendments that were needed to this Bill, bringing through something far better than we had at the start of the process. The noble Lord, Lord Vaux, and the noble Baronesses, Lady Wheatcroft and Lady Boycott, were all highly involved in the process. Like others, I believe we made some important changes in terms of forest risk and making certain that nature as well as climate are involved in this Bill. My only plea, the Minister will not be surprised to hear, is that I hope very much that when the Bill is considered in the other place, those amendments hold and we do not have to have the argument all over again in this House.
Bill passed and returned to the Commons with amendments.