Documents considered by the Committee on 1 March 2017 Contents

17Retail financial services

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Cleared from scrutiny

Document details

Green Paper on retail financial services

Legal base


HM Treasury

Document Number

(37442), 5003/16, COM(15) 630

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

17.1In January 2016 the Commission published a Green Paper consulting on a range of issues relating to competition and choice in retail financial services, including questions related to digitalisation of financial services. At that time we kept the document under scrutiny, pending information about the Government’s response to the Green Paper.

17.2The Government now tells us, very belatedly, that its response was submitted to the Commission in March 2016, briefly summarises that response, draws our attention to the Commission’s summary of all the responses, and notes that the Commission’s follow-up Action Plan is expected to be published soon.

17.3It is highly regrettable that the Government has singularly failed to meet a straightforward parliamentary scrutiny requirement. Nevertheless, given that matters have moved on and that we expect to be soon scrutinising the Commission’s follow-up Action Plan, we now clear the present document from scrutiny.

Full details of the document

Green Paper on retail financial services: better products, more choice, and greater opportunities for consumers and businesses: (37442), 5003/16, COM(15) 630.


17.4This Commission Green Paper, issued in January 2016, was to consult on a range of issues relating to competition and choice in retail financial services as well as asking questions related to the digitalisation of financial services. It suggested that fragmented markets and insufficient competition lead to consumer detriment, as consumers are prevented from accessing the full range of financial products and services available in other Member States. It called for views on 33 specific questions and intended to publish an action plan on retail financial services later in 2016.

17.5When we considered this document, also in January 2016, the Government told us that it welcomed the publication of the Green Paper and the opportunity to consider the options for improving EU retail financial services markets. It said that it intended to respond to the Commission’s consultation before the 18 March 2016 deadline and that in its response it would consider the impact and feasibility of each of the measures proposed, and that it was alive to subsidiarity concerns. We commented that the Commission had touched on a range of important issues and that we wished to see the Government’s response to the Green Paper before we would consider the matter again. Meanwhile the document remained under scrutiny.

The Minister’s letter of 21 February 2017

17.6The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Simon Kirby) now very belatedly responds. He first apologises, without explanation, for this abject failure to meet parliamentary scrutiny requirements.

17.7The Minister then says that the Government’s response to the Green Paper was submitted to the Commission on 18 March 2016. He tells us that in the response it said that:

17.8The Minister also tells us that:

Previous Committee Reports

Twenty-first Report HC 342-xx (2015–16), chapter 7 (27 January 2016).

3 March 2017