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25 Nov 2008 : Column 644

Orders of the Day

Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Bill [ Lords]

Lords message considered.

Clause 5

Functions etc of a reclaim fund

Lords amendment: No. 7A.

4.48 pm

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Ian Pearson): I beg to move, That this House agrees with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): With this it will be convenient to consider Lords amendment No. 10A. [ Interruption.]

May I ask Members who are not staying for the debate to leave quickly and quietly?

Ian Pearson: One of the central threads of the many debates that we have had in both this House and the other place was the principle of transparency, particularly in relation to the use of powers set out in the Bill. I wanted to be clear that transparency has been and always will be crucial to the scheme, and the Government are committed to acting openly when exercising the powers.

The amendment seeks to insert into clause 5 this provision:

Clause 5 includes a direction-making power, and we discussed the matter at some length in the Public Bill Committee. I would like to make it clear that the Government do not envisage using the direction-making power in the Bill to interfere in the day-to-day running of the reclaim fund and the management of its money. This will be the sole responsibility of the Financial Services Authority, which will regulate the reclaim fund for prudential purposes. I want again to stress first and foremost that it is not the case that the reclaim fund is a public sector body. The Bill sets out how the reclaim fund will be constituted. It does not establish a reclaim fund; that is a task for the industry. The reclaim fund is clearly independent of Government.

As I have explained on previous occasions, the direction-making power that we are taking is an ultimate sanction that the public will expect us to have to ensure that the reclaim fund functions in accordance with its articles of association, in particular in those areas that the Financial Services Authority will not regulate for prudential purposes. This is a power to be used only in exceptional circumstances, to require the reclaim fund to comply with its statutory requirements under legislation—no more and no less. We recognise that concerns remain about the transparency of how the power may be used. We have reflected on that, and we are content to agree to amendment No. 7A.

Concerns about transparency have also been voiced in relation to the definition of dormancy. The reserve power for the Treasury to amend the period of inactivity required before accounts can be considered dormant was originally introduced by negative procedure, in line
25 Nov 2008 : Column 645
with other powers contained in the Bill. However, the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee subsequently considered the power and recommended that, since the definition of a dormant account is central to the purpose of the Bill, the power to amend the 15-year period should be subject to the affirmative procedure. We have listened to those comments, and are happy to agree to Lords amendment No. 10A, in accordance with that recommendation.

I believe that these amendments are straightforward, and I take this opportunity to thank again the Members who served on the Public Bill Committee. The Bill has received general support from all parts of the House, and I am sure we all look forward to its enactment and to resources being made available for the wider benefit of society.

Mr. Mark Hoban (Fareham) (Con): May I begin by echoing the Minister’s concluding remarks? People are looking forward to implementation of the Bill, and we welcome amendments Nos. 7A and 10A and the Government motion to agree.

As the Minister said, the definition of dormancy is central to the Bill, and people are rightly concerned about any relaxation there might be in that definition, because they are rightly concerned about how they maintain their rights to what is effectively their money. It is right for the Government to have conceded that any changes in the limit should be dealt with through the affirmative procedure.

On amendment No. 7A, as the Minister said, the Treasury has powers under the Bill to give directions to the private company that will operate the reclaim fund. There was considerable discussion in this House and the other place about what checks and balances should be in place to control the use of the power by the Treasury to make sure that it is subject to proper scrutiny, and various attempts were made in both this House and the other place to introduce some controls. The last time we debated this Bill in the House, I tabled amendment No. 12, which would have required the Treasury to publish a direction within 28 days, and the Minister said:

I am pleased that he has inched so far. Although he has not quite adopted the wording of my amendment, the Government came pretty close to doing so in the House of Lords.

I am grateful for the changes the Government have introduced as a consequence of the debates in this House and the other place, and we welcome the amendments.

Mr. Jeremy Browne (Taunton) (LD): Although the Bill has the word “Dormant” in its title, it seems to come back to life frequently. We now again have an opportunity briefly to discuss this important Bill, which has, throughout proceedings in the other place, in Committee and in this Chamber, commanded the broad support of all political parties. That is also true of these two amendments.

We support Lords amendment No. 7A, which will add transparency to the process here in Parliament in a way of which we approve. Perhaps more importantly, we support Lords amendment No. 10A. It is a key
25 Nov 2008 : Column 646
consideration, because the 15-year period for dormancy is inevitably somewhat arbitrary, and in time it may be judged that a period of 10 or 12 years, or longer than 15 years, is more suitable. The provision is central to the legislation, and it would be inappropriate for a change of that centrality to take place without our having an opportunity to reflect on it and discuss it.

I am pleased that the Government have chosen to take such an open-minded approach to the proposals that have been made, and the Liberal Democrats share the objectives that have been outlined both by the Minister and by the Conservative spokesman.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendment No. 10A agreed to.


Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pu rsuant to Standing Order No. 83A (Programme motions),

The House divided: Ayes 327, Noes 175.
Division No. 337]
[4.56 pm


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, Danny
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Balls, rh Ed
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barrett, John
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Beith, rh Sir Alan
Benn, rh Hilary
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Breed, Mr. Colin
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Annette
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, rh Mr. Liam
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clegg, rh Mr. Nick
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Farron, Tim
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Don
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harris, Mr. Tom
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, rh John
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hoey, Kate
Holmes, Paul
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horwood, Martin
Howarth, David
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hunter, Mark
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, rh Jim
Kramer, Susan
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, rh Mr. David
Laws, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Leech, Mr. John
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCarthy, Kerry
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonnell, John
McFadden, rh Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, rh Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona

McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moore, Mr. Michael
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mudie, Mr. George
Mulholland, Greg
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Paisley, rh Rev. Ian
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr. John
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Rowen, Paul
Roy, Mr. Frank
Roy, Lindsay
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, John
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Swinson, Jo
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Taylor, Matthew
Teather, Sarah
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Webb, Steve
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, rh Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Wills, rh Mr. Michael
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Wood, Mike
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Ayes:

Helen Jones and
Ms Dawn Butler

Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard

Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, Sir John
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evennett, Mr. David
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Field, Mr. Mark
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Christopher
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Horam, Mr. John
Hosie, Stewart
Howell, John
Huhne, Chris
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew

Maclean, rh David
MacNeil, Mr. Angus
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maples, Mr. John
Mason, John
Mates, rh Mr. Michael
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Mundell, David
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Angus
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, Mr. David
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Timpson, Mr. Edward
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Viggers, Sir Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Weir, Mr. Mike
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Williams, Hywel
Wilshire, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Tellers for the Noes:

Michael Fabricant and
Jeremy Wright
Question accordingly agreed to.
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Pensions Bill

Lords amendments considered.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): I must draw the House’s attention to the fact that privilege is involved in Lords amendments Nos. 132, 135, 147, 149, 150, 171 to 176, 188, 193, 194, 198, 199, 202 to 205, 239, 240 to 246 and 278. If the House agrees to these amendments, I shall ensure that the appropriate entry is made in the Journal.

Clause 1


Lords amendment: No. 1.

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