Joint Committee on Draft Civil Contingencies Bill Written Evidence

Letter from Mervyn King, The Governor, Bank of England

  Thank you for your letter of 23 July asking whether the Bank considers that the financial services industry should be listed as a Category 2 responder in the Bill.

  It is certainly the case that the financial industry needs to plan carefully for various civil contingencies and to co-operate with the relevant public authorities in that planning and response but I do not think a new statutory duty is necessary to bring this about.

  The financial sector is much more diverse than the sectors listed in the Bill—the utilities typically have a few tens of companies involved as against many thousands in the financial sector and it would not be easy to define a subset of critical companies for all contingencies. Moreover the FSA already has regulatory powers which enable it to obtain and assess information about business continuity management from authorised financial institutions and to require co-operation. The Bank, FSA and HM Treasury are already working closely together, through the mechanism of the tripartite Standing Committee, to encourage an adequate level of preparedness. There is more to do but I do not think an additional statutory duty on financial institutions to co-operate or to supply information is needed. Should the position change, I note that the Bill includes a provision for additional Category 2 responders to be added by Regulation.

29 August 2003

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