House of Commons Public Bill Committee

Fabian at work with the Opposition Treasury Team

Fabian is now fully involved with the work of the Labour Treasury Team in the work of the opposition on Treasury matters. The current piece of legislation that is being scrutinised in minute detail is Financial Services Bill seeks to transform regulation (control) of the financial industry in the UK and the operation of the Bank of England. The current government body, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) with its 4000 staff is to be replaced by two organisations - the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority - the latter will be a subsidiary of the Bank of England which itself will have new powers. Becoming involved with this work is a 'just baptism' for Fabian since he has been very concerned in recent years fighting the cause for policy holders let down by the collapse of Equitable Life. There is a consensus that the FSA failed in its duty to monitor Equitable Life and so in a real sense the government agency, the FSA, should therefore be required to compensate policy holders who lost all their retirement savings.

The Financial Services Bill has passed its second reading in the House of Commons and its is now being examined, clause by clause, in the House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Financial Services Bill 2010-12. This is a process which is part of the way that legislation becomes law in the UK. Fabian is a member of this 21 member scrutiny committee which comprises government and opposition MPs although there is a government majority of members.

Fabian has attended meetings that are held, morning and afternoon, twice each week with sessions lasting well into the evening. The opposition under the leadership of Chris Leslie MP has tabled no fewer than 130 amendments that either seek to probe the meaning and intent of the legislation or to modify in some way what is proposed to become law. Fabian has contributed to the discussion both publicly in committee and in the meetings of the opposition team in preparation. Normally most amendments get lost either because the concerns get answered or the government members vote out the proposed change. Usually in these committees some sensible amendments get accepted. It is significant, and a characteristic of this government that not one single amendment as been accepted in this committee by the members from the Tory / Liberal Democrat coalition. For Fabian this has been yet another confirmation of the culture of arrogance of the present government that is content to press ahead with ideological policies even when it is obvious that they are not working or are profoundly damaging to the social and economic fabric of the country.

For full details of comittee membership and of the debate in the Public Bill Committee - click here