The House of Commons has released two briefing papers on the Bank of England and Financial Services Bill. These papers highlight the progress of the Bill through the House of Lords and into the House of Commons. Particular attention was given to the abolition of the Oversight Committee, the extent to which the National Audit Office would be allowed to scrutinise the Bank of England’s work and the abolition of the reverse burden of proof within the Senior Managers and Certification Regime.
The papers also highlight the main measures contained in the Bill. In summary the Bill will make changes to the governance and accountability of the Bank of England and will:
- Alter the status of the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), so that it will no longer be a subsidiary and a new Prudential Regulation Committee will be set up within the Bank of England to exercise the functions of the PRA.
- Extend the scope of and make changes to the Senior Managers and Certification Scheme.
- Extend the Government’s Pension wise scheme.
- Make the Deputy Governor for markets and banking a member of the Bank of England’s court of directors.
- Abolish the Oversight Committee and transfer its oversight functions to the Bank of England’s full court of directors.
- Make changes to the rules governing the issuing of banknotes in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The first reading of the Bill in the House of Commons was on 19 January 2016 and the second reading of the Bill in the House of Commons was on 1 February 2016. In the second reading, the Economic Secretary, Harriet Baldwin announced that the Government would alter the Bill at Committee Stage to give HM Treasury a power to permit the FCA to collect a levy from consumer credit firms to fund Illegal Money Lending Teams. These teams have, until recently, been funded by the National Trading Standards Board but this budget has been cut. The date for the House of Commons’ Committee Stage is yet to be announced.