Work of the Committee 2008-09 - Treasury Contents

 
 

 
2  Meeting the core tasks of select committees

Introduction

20. All select committees are guided by a set of common objectives (core tasks) issued by the Liaison Committee in order to encourage a more methodical approach to the business of scrutiny. The core tasks represent guidance to committees, not a rigid blueprint; we retain the right to choose our own inquiries and the flexibility to respond to urgent issues of the day. The core tasks are:
A: To examine and comment on the policy of the department.  C: To examine the administration of the department.  
1. To examine policy proposals from the UK Government and the European Commission in Green Papers, White Papers, draft Guidance etc, and to inquire further where the Committee considers it appropriate.  6. To examine the department's Public Service Agreements, the associated targets and the statistical measurements employed, and report if appropriate.  
2. To identify and examine areas of emerging policy, or where existing policy is deficient, and make proposals.  7. To monitor the work of the department's Executive Agencies, NDPBs, regulators and other associated public bodies.  
3. To conduct scrutiny of any published draft bill within the Committee's responsibilities.  8. To scrutinise major appointments made by the department.  
4. To examine specific output from the department expressed in documents or other decisions.  9. To examine the implementation of legislation and major policy initiatives.  
B: To examine the expenditure of the department.  D: To assist the House in debate and decision.  
5. To examine the expenditure plans and out-turn of the department, its agencies and principal NDPBs.  10. To produce reports which are suitable for debate in the House, including Westminster Hall, or debating committees.  

Core task 1: Scrutiny of policy proposals

21. The banking crisis and the Government's response to it occupied much of our work during Session 2008-09. Indeed, since September 2007 and our inquiry into the collapse of Northern Rock, financial stability has been the dominant theme of many of our inquiries. The Government recognised our contribution to parliamentary scrutiny in its July 2009 White Paper, Reforming Financial Markets. The Government noted:

the important role that the Treasury Select Committee has played throughout the events of the last two years ... It is, of course, for the House of Commons to decide how the Treasury Committee may best fulfil its role. The Government will consult on options for broadening and strengthening channels of democratic accountability and will work with the Treasury Select Committee to consider whether and how emerging options should be implemented.[7]

22. Our work over the last two years meant that we were well-placed to scrutinise the Government's proposals for Reforming Financial Markets. We considered the reforms to the institutional structure of the Tripartite Committee announced in the White Paper to be largely cosmetic, and concluded that merely re-branding the Tripartite Standing Committee would do little in itself.[8] There remained a lack of clarity about who was responsible for systemic oversight, and who had executive authority in a crisis, a problem we first highlighted in the aftermath of Northern Rock's demise. Where before no-one had a formal responsibility for financial stability, now many do—the Bank of England, the FSA, the Treasury, the Council for Financial Stability and the Bank's Financial Stability Committee. We concluded that where responsibility lies for strategic decisions and executive action was, and remains, a muddle.[9] However, in the Committee's view no new macroprudential responsibilities should be allocated until a decision has been made about the precise tools needed. Accordingly, we did not advocate substantial change to the tripartite framework at present. However, we urged that when that decision was made, responsibilities needed to be crystal clear, and aligned with powers.[10]

SUFFICIENT OPPORTUNITY FOR SCRUTINY

23. We welcome the Government's commitment to parliamentary accountability. Over the last year the department has been helpful in providing ministers and officials to give evidence to our inquiries, often at short notice, and we are grateful for their willingness to attend. We were disappointed, however, that the White Paper Reforming Financial Markets was yet another significant policy document to be published just hours before the relevant minister was due to give evidence to the Committee. If we are to offer effective scrutiny this must be based on a more considered analysis of policy documents.

24. It is not only the United Kingdom Government which fails to allow adequate time for scrutiny. On 20 October we announced an urgent inquiry into the European Commission's proposals for financial regulation and supervision and, in particular, the detailed proposals for a European Systemic Risk Board and three European supervisory bodies: a European Banking Authority, a European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and a European Securities and Markets Authority. The Commission's proposals were announced on 23 September 2009 and were complemented by a further set of measures announced on 26 October 2009. We conducted a short sharp inquiry and reported our conclusions and recommendations to ensure they were available to inform the House before the debate in the Chamber that the European Scrutiny Committee recommended should take place before the ECOFIN meeting on 2 December 2009.[11] The Commission's proposals will set the shape of European regulation and supervision for many years to come. It is unsatisfactory that so little time was available to consider them.

Core task 2: To identify and examine areas of emerging policy, or where existing policy is deficient, and make proposals

25. The second core task is a wide ranging objective and most of our activity can be said to cover it. As the banking crisis stretched the financial regulatory and supervisory system to its limits, it highlighted deficiencies in the existing system of oversight as the tripartite authorities were pushed to react quickly to an exceptional set of circumstances. During the course of our inquiry into the crisis we examined the financial system in detail. We took evidence from all members of the tripartite committee—the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Governor of the Bank of England, and Chairman of the FSA; former and current Chairmen and Chief Executives of major banks; senior representatives from building societies, hedge funds, and credit ratings agencies; auditors, accountants, journalists and academics; representatives of organisations and individuals affected by the collapse of the Icelandic banks; and the Chief Ministers and Financial Regulators of the Isle of Man and the States of Guernsey.[12] We identified a number of problems with existing policy and scrutinised the solutions proposed by the tripartite authorities.

THE COLLAPSE OF THE ICELANDIC BANKS

26. The failure of the Icelandic Banks demonstrated the huge impact the collapse of large banks can have on a country's economy and the severe distress suffered by those affected. This was particularly evident in the Isle of Man and States of Guernsey. However, we unanimously agreed that the UK Government cannot be expected to provide cover for deposits held by British citizens in jurisdictions outside the direct control of the United Kingdom.[13]

THE ROOTS OF THE BANKING CRISIS IN THE UK

27. In our report Banking Crisis: dealing with the failure of the UK banks we concluded that banks were the principal authors of their own demise. [14] A culture of increased risk taking and a misplaced faith in financial innovation combined with totally ineffective corporate governance led to a number of banks being put on life support. However, this was a failure not only within individual banks but also of the supervisory system designed to protect the public from systemic risk. Our Report considered both the origins of the crisis and the steps the Government had taken to resolve it.

BANK RECAPITALISATION

28. We supported the decision of the Government to embark on a bank recapitalisation programme. We noted that the unavoidable speed of implementation did, however, mean that the implications for both banks and Government were neither fully understood nor worked out.[15]

THE ASSET PROTECTION SCHEME

29. We welcomed the approach taken in the Asset Protection Scheme, but remained concerned about the need for greater clarity over the possible impact on the public purse.[16] We also questioned whether, given what emerged, more analysis should have been instituted by regulators earlier to clarify the nature and value of assets on which banks were relying.[17]

BANK LENDING

30. The availability and terms of credit to the small business sector, and the slow movement on this issue by the banks, is an ongoing concern. In our report we noted regretfully anecdotal evidence of sharp increases in bank charges and arrangement fees, which can often be more damaging to businesses than higher interest rates. We deplored the behaviour of a number of those banks who had received so much public money and behaved in such an insensitive manner, particularly to established customers.[18]

UK FINANCIAL INVESTMENTS LTD

31. We expressed concerns that for an institution managing billions of pounds of public money too little information about UKFI's activities was in the public domain. We urged the Government to publish a strategy for UKFI addressing how it would use its control of the investee companies, and what role it envisages for UKFI in promoting change within the banking sector more generally.[19] We are pleased that since our report UKFI have provided more easily accessible information on their website including details on their market investments, investment strategy and wholly owned investments. They have also worked with both RBS and Lloyds on the revision of their remuneration practices, and, in line with our recommendation, are preparing to relocate out of the Treasury building.[20] We held a further evidence session with UKFI in November 2009, and expect that monitoring their performance will be a key task of our successor Committee.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

Remuneration in the City

32. Our third Report on the Banking Crisis focused on reforming corporate governance and pay in the City. We concluded that the banking crisis exposed serious flaws and shortcomings in remuneration practices in the banking sector and, in particular, within investment banking.[21] Moreover, we remained concerned that the FSA's Turner Review[22] downplays the role that remuneration played in causing the banking crisis and we question whether the regulator is attaching sufficient priority to tackling the issue.[23]

33. In our Report we also proposed a number of reforms to remuneration more widely in the banking sector. These include enhanced disclosure requirements on firms about their remuneration structures and about remuneration below board-level, reforms to remuneration committees to make them more open and transparent, and a Code of Ethics for remuneration consultants.

Shareholders and Non-executive directors

34. We noted the failure of institutional investors to effectively scrutinise and monitor the decision of boards and executive management in the banking sector.[24] We also criticised the bank executives and pin-pointed three problems: the lack of time many non-executives commit to their role, with many combining a senior full-time position with multiple non-executive directorships; in many instances a lack of expertise; and a lack of diversity. We called for a broadening of the talent pool from which the banks draw, possible restrictions on the number of directorships an individual can hold, dedicated support or a secretariat to help non-executives carry out their responsibilities effectively, reforms to ensure greater banking expertise amongst non-executives directors, as well as stronger links between non-executive directors and institutional shareholders.[25] We called for the Walker Review to address these concerns as a matter of urgency. We followed this up by inviting Sir David Walker to an evidence session in October, where we both explored his emerging findings and pressed him to address our concerns.

35. Sir David's final report dealt with a number of the issues we considered important, and his proposals for more openness about remuneration, more shareholder engagement, and strengthening boards are some improvement on the current situation but his focus was limited. We consider that the Treasury Committee in the next Parliament should assess the effectiveness of his reforms.

BANK EXECUTIVES

36. A report on our work over the last year would not be complete without mentioning our questioning of bank executives. While we extracted apologies from bank chief executives we also noted that the apologies we heard from the former bank executives had a polished and practised air. We were concerned that the banks saw themselves as unlucky victims of external circumstances; we remain concerned that banks seem unaware of the extent to which their continued functioning depends on taxpayer support.[26]

CONSUMER DETRIMENT

37. At the end of our banking crisis inquiry we turned to examine its impact on the consumer. We reported on the rising numbers of people faced with mortgage arrears charges and even repossession.[27] We shared the concern expressed by many of those who gave evidence to our inquiry that some lenders are charging high and excessive mortgage arrears fees to customers who fall into mortgage difficulties. In many instances such charges appeared to go beyond the recovery of additional administrative costs and are being used instead as an alternative profit stream. We also considered Government schemes to help those who fall into mortgage difficulties and were critical of the response of the FSA to the problem, particularly their leisurely approach to dealing with mortgage providers who were not treating their customers fairly.[28]

Core task 3: Scrutiny of draft bills

38. None of the seven draft bills published by the Government in Session 2008-09 fell within the remit of the Committee. However, four Bills before the House were relevant to our work;

Core task 4: To examine specific output from the Department expressed in documents and other decisions

39. Each year we enquire into the Budget and the Pre-Budget Report, which contains proposals under consideration for the Budget, and updates Parliament on the state of the economy and the public finances. It also reports on progress made on measures announced in the previous Budget.

40. The 2008 Pre-Budget report delivered on 24 November 2008 was, in the Chancellor's own words, set in the context of "a background of economic uncertainty not seen for generations".[29] We held three evidence sessions with: experts in economic affairs, accounting issues and the social impact of the Report; Treasury officials; and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We called for the Government to do more to ease the flow of credit and highlighted the lack of bank lending as "the single most critical problem for the economy in the near term".[30] We considered the Government's forecast for a swift recovery in economic growth for 2010, and commented that the overall effect of the fiscal stimulus remained uncertain.[31] We also noted that:

the risk of a self-reinforcing deflationary cycle exists in the UK economy at present and recommend that the Treasury prepare and publish the actions it may consider taking should a period of "quantitative easing" be needed.[32]

We were surprised by the announcement of an additional £5 billion of efficiency savings without any supporting schedule showing the derivation of this figure. Our Sub-Committee would later inquire further into this area, both in a freestanding report, and in its regular scrutiny of the Department and associated public bodies.

41. Our scrutiny of the 2009 Budget built on the work of our Pre-Budget inquiry. We reiterated our concern about the lack of measures to advance the Government's goal of halving child poverty by 2010. We again questioned the Government's forecasts for the economy, noting that the assumption that the economy would begin registering positive growth as early as the fourth quarter of 2009 was an optimistic one.

42. In our report on the 2008 Budget we noted that the Treasury forecast that the current budget would move into surplus in 2010-11 was subject to "considerable downside risks".[33] Our scepticism was vindicated by the significant deterioration in the public finances detailed in the 2008 Pre-Budget report. The 2009 Budget announced a further marked deterioration in the borrowing forecasts. In our report we commented:

The chancellor's forecasts for public borrowing and national debt make sobering reading. By any measure, those forecasts along with those of many other OECD countries, are extremely high: they have exceeded the fiscal rules from which the Government departed in PBR 2008 by a wide margin and these figures represent the worst outlook since the Second World War. We are very concerned about the state of the public finances.[34]

43. We welcomed the Government's focus on measures to tackle unemployment particularly amongst those aged under 25. However, we cautioned that it would not be immediately apparent whether these schemes were a sufficient response to the challenge of unemployment.[35] We also considered other measures announced in the Budget including the vehicle scrappage scheme, the new 50p top rate of income tax, the stamp duty holiday, and the change to tax relief on pensions. We will look again at these measures when the Government provides an update of their progress in the 2009 Pre-Budget report.

Core task 5: Scrutiny of expenditure plans and outturns

44. A significant part of the work of our Sub-Committee is to examine the expenditure of HM Treasury, HM Revenue and Customs, and other public bodies within the Chancellor's department. With the assistance of the Scrutiny Unit we have analysed their Annual Accounts, Estimates and Supplementary Estimates.

45. The Sub-Committee has also followed progress on the Government's alignment project. The alignment ("clear line of sight") project aims to create greater transparency between Government budgets, supply estimates and accounts. In our report on the Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments, 2007-08, we voiced our concern that "without adequate levels of information regarding income, Parliament's authority may be diminished".[36] We recommended that the new estimates "provide appropriate levels of information relating to income".[37] The Liaison Committee shared our view, noting in its report on Financial Scrutiny: Parliamentary Control over Government Budgets, that "the concerns expressed by the Treasury Committee are extremely valid".[38] The Government welcomed our "helpful and pragmatic approach" to this important issue and considered our concerns in the proposals announced in the Alignment Project White Paper.[39]

Core task 6: Scrutinising Public Service Agreements and targets

46. Public Service Agreements set out the key priority outcomes the Government wants to achieve in the next spending period. The 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review introduced a new system of measuring departmental performance, reducing the number of PSAs from 110 to 30. HM Treasury is the lead department for delivering on a single PSA: to "halve the number of children in poverty by 2010-11, on the way to eradicating child poverty by 2020."[40] We examined the Government's progress in achieving this PSA as part of our inquiries into the Pre-Budget and Budget reports as well as our annual session on HM Treasury's Annual Report and Accounts.

47. In our inquiry into the 2008 Pre-Budget we were disappointed to learn of the lack of progress on child poverty since we last examined the Government's performance in this area. While we recognised that the fiscal position was strained we nonetheless called on the Government to take decisive action in the 2009 Budget if we are to have any hope of achieving the 2010 child poverty target.[41]

48. These concerns were not addressed by the Government in the 2009 Budget and we were dismayed to report that, "on current indicators the Government will fail to meet its 2010-11 target by a significant margin".[42] As part of our inquiry into the Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments, 2008-09, we questioned Sir Nicholas Macpherson, Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, in October 2009 on his department's progress in meeting the PSA. He told us

Over the past two years of published data we have not made as much progress as we would have liked. A lot of resources have been put into tax and benefits to support poor families but progress does not seem to have been reflected in the statistics. It does not mean you give up; if anything, you need to redouble your efforts, but we shall be hard pressed to halve child poverty by 2010 given the recent trajectory.[43]

We will continue to monitor the Government's progress in meeting its Public Service Agreement and expect to return to the issue in our forthcoming inquiry into the 2009 Pre-Budget Report, as well as in the Sub-Committee's scrutiny of the Department's work.

49. In addition to PSAs, departments are also guided by 'Departmental Strategic Objectives' (DSOs). HM Treasury has two such objectives:

  • to maintain sound public finances, and
  • to ensure sustainable economic growth, well being and prosperity for all.

50. The global financial crisis has had a profound impact on the work of HM Treasury during Session 2008-09. The economy has experienced successive quarters of negative growth and we have seen public debt and levels of unemployment increase. We examined the Government's response to these issues in our inquiry into the banking crisis, and our inquiries into the 2008 Pre-Budget and 2009 Budget.

Core task 7: Monitoring the work of agencies and other public bodies

51. During the last year the Committee continued its practice of taking evidence on the quarterly Inflation Reports produced by the Bank of England. We aim to hear evidence within four weeks of the publication of an Inflation Report and it has become settled practice for the Committee to sit in September to take evidence on the August Inflation Report. The Inflation Reports are designed to provide a comprehensive and forward-looking framework for discussion by the members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and to allow the Bank to share its thinking. Our evidence sessions play an important role in enhancing the transparency and understanding of the interest rate decision-making process. They provide an opportunity to question the Governor and four other members of the MPC on the reasons behind their decisions on setting interest rates, the outlook for monetary policy going forward and, more recently, the impact and scale of quantitative easing. We are grateful to the Governor and his colleagues for their continuing support of the work of the Committee. We have also continued our tradition of holding pre-appointment hearings with those selected to join the MPC. These are discussed in the next section.

52. In December 2008 we took evidence from the Financial Services Authority on their annual report and accounts. This session gave us the opportunity to question the FSA on their performance over the preceding twelve months. In common with previous years the evidence session covered a wide range of topics including the future of principles-based regulation, the Treating Customers Fairly initiative, the Retail Distribution Review, and the regulation of retail banking code of conduct. We have recently held a further wide ranging session with the FSA.

53. We held regular meetings with UK Financial Investments Ltd (UKFI) who have a crucial role in managing the Government's investments in financial institutions including Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley. At a hearing in November 2009 we questioned the outgoing chief executive, John Kingman, on the remuneration policy of RBS. Mr Kingman highlighted the dilemma we referred to in our report on the failure of UK banks:[44]

We have to walk this tightrope by which we, on the one hand, reform the cultures … but, on the other, we cannot afford to be in a position where the banks lose so many people that we start to lose serious value. [45]

54. Mr Kingman also explained UKFI's approach to splitting Northern Rock into "good" and "bad" banks and detailed how UKFI envisaged the sale of Northern Rock, as well as assets of the UK's part-nationalised banks, would take place. These are clearly important issues and we will maintain a close watch on developments.

55. As discussed under Core task 5 above, the Committee, through its Sub-Committee, continued its regular programme of scrutiny of the administration of the Chancellor's departments in Session 2008-09. The Sub-Committee annually takes evidence from HM Treasury, HM Revenue and Customs and a selection of bodies which fall under the Chancellor's remit. In January we reported on the evidence we took at the end of the previous Session. Amongst our conclusions we questioned whether continued staff reductions in the Treasury Group would leave the Group able to deliver all that is expected of it.[46] We were also concerned that the Debt Management Office was operating under increased pressures.[47] We are pleased to note that both the Treasury Group and the DMO have since recruited staff to help with the increased workload caused by the financial crisis. We again noted the low morale amongst staff in HM Revenue and Customs and pressed HMRC to disclose information regarding the financial case for individual office closures.[48] The Sub-Committee also scrutinised the work of the Valuation Office Agency—this is discussed under core task 9.

Core task 8: Scrutiny of major appointments

56. The Treasury Committee has held pre-appointment hearings with all new appointees to the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England since 1998. During Session 2008-09 we held three such hearings: Paul Fisher, Dr Adam Posen and Professor David Miles. We also examined Paul Tucker's appointment to the role of Deputy Governor of the Bank of England for Financial Stability. Mr Tucker was already a member of the MPC through his previous role as Executive Director, Markets. In accordance with our established practice we asked whether the appointees fulfilled our criteria for appointments to the MPC of professional competence and personal independence. In advance of the oral evidence hearing appointees are requested to complete a questionnaire regarding their career to date and their views on relevant economic issues. The questionnaire together with the oral evidence forms the basis of our conclusions on the appointment and the appointment process. These are published in a short report following the hearing.

57. In a previous report we recommended that the post of Governor of the Bank of England and the two Deputy Governor posts be filled by open advertisement. [49] On 19 June 2008, the Chancellor of the Exchequer reported in a letter to the Chairman of this Committee that the Governor had indicated to him that in future the Bank "would advertise externally the two Bank Executive posts which carry MPC membership".[50] This change was designed to ensure that all future appointments to the MPC would be the subject of open advertisement. We welcome the use of an external advertisement system and are pleased that the appointments of Paul Tucker as Deputy Governor, and Paul Fisher, as Executive Director, Markets, were achieved through this process—both appointments were the first at their grade to be made through open competition. It is necessary to have advance warning of appointments in order to schedule pre-appointment hearings. We are grateful to HM Treasury for advance notice of appointments to the MPC over the last year.

58. The role of Deputy Governor of the Bank of England for Financial Stability is one of the key posts within the financial system. Its holder is at the heart of the debate about how the financial crisis will be resolved and how the regulatory system should change. In addition to our criteria of professional competence and personal independence we questioned Paul Tucker on his priorities on becoming Deputy Governor and examined the way in which he would deal with the challenge of responding to the financial crisis.

Core task 9: Implementation of legislation and major policy initiatives

59. In October 2008 our Sub-Committee took evidence from the Valuation Office Agency on their annual report and accounts.[51] Two significant issues emerged at the meeting, the worryingly low morale amongst staff in the VOA, and the Agency's handling of the revaluation of UK statutory ports. As a result of the revaluation exercise a total of 569 new rateable properties were identified in England and a further 81 in Wales. However, businesses affected received bills backdated to 2005.

60. We received a high volume of correspondence from businesses that had been placed under severe financial pressure as a result of this process. Some businesses had already failed and others expected to join them in the near future. There were three main issues that concerned us: the poor quality of communication by the VOA with the businesses affected; the relationship between port operators and businesses operating within ports (port occupiers); and the justification for backdating these charges. In light of the failings of the VOA and the compelling evidence that many businesses were being forced to declare themselves insolvent, we recommended that the Government consider maintaining port ratings at the levels published in the 2005 lists until the next scheduled revaluation of statutory ports is undertaken in 2010.[52] It is disappointing that despite a further meeting on this subject with Ministers from HM Treasury and the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as Members in the Chamber commending the Committee for suggesting a simple way forward, we could not persuade the Government to accept our recommendations. The Sub-Committee continues to press the government for more information, and is reviewing this as part of its current scrutiny of the department's work.

61. In May 2009 our Sub-Committee launched an inquiry into the Government's efficiency programme. As part of the 2004 Spending Review, the Government launched an ambitious efficiency programme that set demanding targets for Government departments to achieve monetary savings, headcount reductions and relocation of posts from London and the South-East. Our inquiry looked at the effects of that efficiency programme, known as the Gershon Review, on the Chancellor's departments, following the final report published in the 2008 Pre-Budget Report. It also examined the more recent programmes announced in the 2009 Budget including the Operational Efficiency Programme and the Public Value Programme.

62. We welcomed the Government's efforts to improve efficiency, but stressed the importance of accurately evaluating the costs and savings of major efficiency programmes, and of maintaining staff morale. We noted that low staff morale at HMRC has been caused, in part, by uncertainty about the future, a lack of understanding about the chosen efficiency targets, especially when service quality is perceived to have fallen, and increased pressure—having to do the same job with less resources. [53] We returned to this area as part of our inquiry into the Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments, 2008-09.

Core task 10: Debates in Westminster Hall and the Chamber

63. The tenth core task is to "assist the House in debate and decision". Our work over the last year, through the provision of reports and evidence to the House, has helped to inform Members during debates in the Chamber. During the last year the work of this Committee has been cited in the Chamber on 97 occasions. It was referred to a further 57 times by Members in the House of Lords.

64. It has become standard practice for the Committee to report on the Budget in time for our report to be tagged to the second reading of the Finance Bill. To achieve this in 2009 we were forced to operate under a tighter timetable than normal. The Budget was published on 22 April. Two weeks later, having held three evidence sessions, we published our report in time for the debate on the second reading of the Finance Bill. The debate began on 6 May and our Report was referenced repeatedly. We were commended for coming to "a very sensible view", and "asking the right questions". The Government was urged to "address in this debate what [the report] says".[54] Our concerns at the lack of any substantial measures in Budget 2009 to combat child poverty were also cited in the second reading debate.

65. In addition to tagging our Budget 2009 report to the Finance Bill, our reports, from last session and before that, were frequently cited. Our concerns about child poverty were raised during the second reading of the Child Poverty Bill.

66. At the end of Session 2007-08 we published our report on the Banking Bill.[55] In January 2009 the Bill, which had been carried over from session 2007-08, received Royal Assent. During the third reading of the Bill Mark Hoban MP commented:

'The deliberations of the Treasury Committee in the aftermath of Northern Rock and financial instability contributed a great deal to our consideration of the Bill in the Public Bill Committee'.[56]

In the second reading debate on the Savings Gateway Accounts Bill in January 2009, Yvette Cooper MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, noted the long-standing support of the Treasury Committee for the bill by quoting from our Thirteenth report of Session 2006-07.[57]

67. We have sought to bring clarity to parliamentary and public debate throughout Session 2008-09 and we will continue to do so as we move towards the General Election in 2010. Although it is early in the new session, two debates have already had our work tagged to them. Our work on the Banking Crisis has contributed a great deal to the Financial Services Bill. [58] Perhaps even more significantly, the European Scrutiny Committee asked us to examine proposals for European financial supervision, so that our Opinion was available to the House before these proposals were debated.[59]

Table 1: Core tasks relevant to inquiries undertaken by the Treasury Committee and Treasury Sub-Committee in 2008-09
Inquiry Core task  
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments, 2008-09   
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Appointment of Paul Fisher to the Monetary Policy Committee          
 
  
Appointment of Professor David Miles to the Monetary Policy Committee          
 
  
Appointment of Dr Adam Posen to the Monetary Policy Committee          
 
  
Appointment of Paul Tucker as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England          
 
  
Bank of England February 2009 Inflation Report         
 
   
Bank of England May 2009 Inflation Report         
 
   
Bank of England August 2009 Inflation Report         
 
   
Banking Crisis  
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
Banking Crisis: international dimensions   
 
          
Banking Crisis: regulation and supervision  
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
Budget 2009 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Credit searches   
 
          
Evaluating the Efficiency Programme       
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proposals for European macro and micro prudential financial regulation  
 
           
Mortgage arrears and access to mortgage finance   
 
     
 
 
 
 
Pre-Budget Report 2008  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
UK Financial Investments Ltd   
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
Walker Review   
 
 
 
       
Women in the City   
 
          
Work of the Financial Services Authority 2007-08  
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 



7   HM Treasury, Reforming financial markets, Cm 7667, July 2009, p 139 Back

8   Treasury Committee, Fourteenth Report of Session 2008-09, Banking Crisis: regulation and supervision, HC 767, para 112 Back

9   Ibid., para 114 Back

10   Ibid., para 113 Back

11   Treasury Committee, Sixteenth Report of Session 2008-09, The Committee's Opinion on proposals for European financial supervision, HC 1088 Back

12   Treasury Committee, Banking Crisis: Oral evidence, HC (2008-09) 144-I Back

13   Treasury Committee, Fifth Report of Session 2008-09, Banking Crisis: The impact of the failure of the Icelandic banks, HC 402, para 88 Back

14   Treasury Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2008-09, Banking Crisis: dealing with the failure of the UK banks, HC 416 Back

15   Treasury Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2008-09, Banking Crisis: dealing with the failure of the UK banks, HC 416, para 146 Back

16   Ibid., para 172 Back

17   Ibid., para 178 Back

18   Ibid., para 189 Back

19   Ibid., para 212 Back

20   Treasury Committee, Seventh Special Report of Session 2008-09, Banking Crisis: dealing with the failure of the UK banks: Government, UK Financial Investments Ltd and Financial Services Authority Responses to the Seventh Report from the Committee, HC 956 Back

21   Treasury Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2008-09, Banking Crisis: reforming corporate governance and pay in the City, HC 519, para 151 Back

22   Financial Services Authority, The Turner Review: A regulatory response to the global banking crisis, March 2009 Back

23   Treasury Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2008-09, Banking Crisis: reforming corporate governance and pay in the City, HC 519, p 3 Back

24   Ibid., para 153 Back

25   Ibid., para 152 Back

26   Treasury Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2008-09, Banking Crisis: reforming corporate governance and pay in the City, HC 519, para 134 Back

27   Treasury Committee, Fifteenth Report of Session 2008-09, Mortgage arrears and access to mortgage finance, HC 766 Back

28   Ibid., para 52 Back

29   HC Deb, 24 November 2008, col 489  Back

30   Treasury Committee, Second Report of Session 2008-09, Pre-Budget Report 2008, HC 27, para 17 Back

31   Ibid., para 12 Back

32   Ibid., para 30 Back

33   Treasury Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2007-08, The 2008 Budget, HC 430, para 31 Back

34   Treasury Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2007-08, The 2008 Budget, HC 430, para 44 Back

35   Ibid., para 27 Back

36   Treasury Committee, First Report of Session 2008-09, Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments, 2007-08, HC 35, para 41 Back

37   IbidBack

38   Liaison Committee, Second Report of Session 2008-09, Financial Scrutiny: Parliamentary Control over Government Budgets, HC 804, para 32 Back

39   Treasury Committee, Second Special Report of Session 2008-09, Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments, 2007-08: Government Response to the First Report from the Committee, HC 419, p 5 Back

40   HM Treasury, Meeting the aspirations of the British people: 2007 Pre-Budget Report and Comprehensive Spending Review 2007, Cm 7227, p 190 Back

41   Treasury Committee, Second Report of Session 2008-09, Pre-Budget Report 2008, HC 27, para 72 Back

42   Treasury Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2007-08, The 2008 Budget, HC 430, para 74 Back

43   Treasury Committee, Uncorrected transcript, HC 1046-iii, 11 November 2009 Back

44   Treasury Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2008-09, Banking Crisis: reforming corporate governance and pay in the City, HC 519, para 95 Back

45   Oral evidence taken before the Treasury Committee on 4 November 2009, HC (2008-09) 1090-i, Q39 Back

46   Treasury Committee, First Report of Session 2008-09, Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments, 2007-08, HC 35, para 15 Back

47   Ibid., para 51 Back

48   Ibid., para 92 Back

49   Treasury Committee, Twelfth Report of Session 2006-07, The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England: ten years on, HC 299-I, para 84 Back

50   Letter from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to John McFall MP, available at www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/Chancellor08619F.pdf Back

51   Treasury Committee, First Report of Session 2008-09, Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments, 2007-08, HC 35 Back

52   Ibid., para 139 Back

53   Treasury Committee, Thirteenth Report of Session 2008-09, Evaluating the Efficiency Programme, HC 520, paras 24-33 Back

54   HC deb, 6 May 2009, cols 185, 277-8 and 492 Back

55   Treasury Committee, Seventeenth Report of Session 2007-08, Banking Reform, HC 1008 Back

56   HC deb, 17 December 2008,Col 1122 Back

57   Treasury Committee, Thirteenth Report of Session 2006-07, Financial Inclusion follow-up: saving for all and shorter term saving products, HC 504 Back

58   The Committee's Fourteenth Report of Session 2008-09, Banking Crisis: regulation and supervision, HC 767,and the Government's and Financial Services Authority's responses thereto, were "tagged" for the debate on the Second Reading of the Financial Services Bill on Monday 30 November.  Back

59   The Committee's Sixteenth Report of Session 2008-09, The Committee's Opinion on proposals for European financial supervision, HC 1088, and the Committee's First Report of Session 2009-10, Proposals for European financial supervision: further report, HC 37, were "tagged" for the debate on the Motion to Approve a European document relating to financial services on Tuesday 1 December. Back


 

 
previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index  

 
© Parliamentary copyright 2009 
Prepared 11 December 2009