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Lord Davies of Oldham: My right honourable friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Alistair Darling) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
I am today laying before Parliament Financial Stability and Depositor Protection: Strengthening the Framework (Cm 7308). This consultation document sets out the views of the Government, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Bank of England building on responses to the joint discussion paper, Banking ReformProtecting Depositors published in October 2007. The Treasury Select Committee's report published on 26 January has informed the consultation document published today and I am grateful for its positive contribution.
Recent months have seen a period of sustained turbulence and instability in global financial markets, with financial firms across the world affected. A response to these episodes requires action, not only from the UK authorities, but also from international firms and institutions. The Government propose to bring forward legislation after consultation, alongside actions by the FSA and the Bank of England, to address five key objectives:
Strengthening the financial systemthe interconnectedness and complexity of today's financial systems require international actions to increase stability and resilience, such as:improving and strengthening risk management by banks, including stress testing and liquidity management; andimproving the functioning of securitisation markets including valuation and credit rating agencies.
Reducing the likelihood of banks failingthe high costs for the wider economy and society if a bank gets into difficulty require that further steps be taken to reduce the likelihood of this happening. It is proposed to:strengthen the regulatory and supervisory framework, including requirements for banks to provide information to the FSA at short notice and more formal regulation of payment systems; andchange the framework for provision and disclosure of liquidity assistance.
Reducing the impact of failing banksit is neither possible nor desirable to prevent banks from failing in all circumstances. However, important new arrangements are proposed to enable failing banks to be dealt with in a way that minimises the potential impact on financial stability. These include:the introduction of a special resolution regime within which there would be a range of tools to resolve a failing bank in a more orderly manner, including an accelerated method to transfer its
Effective compensation arrangementsit is important that consumers have full confidence in, and understanding of, the compensation scheme in the event of a bank failing. To improve current arrangements we will consult on:a potential increase to the compensation limit for deposits, and the coverage of certain balances above the limit;making changes to enable the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to make payments within one week of a bank failing; andways to increase consumer awareness of the scope and operation of the compensation scheme.
Strengthening the Bank of England and improving co-ordination between authoritiesthe current tripartite arrangements provide the appropriate framework for managing financial difficulties and crises. However, improvements to how these arrangements work in practice are required. Important changes will be made, including:providing the Bank of England's role in financial stability with a statutory footing and better governance arrangements in the Bank to support new statutory obligation; andstrengthening the memorandum of understanding, applying lessons from the operation of COBR during crisis conditions, improving external communications.
In addition, it is vital that co-operation across borders works effectively. Current market events have demonstrated both the benefits and the difficulties of achieving this. Work with international partners will continue to:improve co-ordination of approaches to international financial stability issues; andintroduce early warning system on global financial risks, improve cross-border crisis management.
The Government are determined that their response is proportionate and appropriate and will therefore consult actively on these proposals, seeking discussions with financial institutions, consumer representatives and counterparts from across the world, to ensure that the final arrangements are effective and deliver the five objectives set out here.
I am also announcing today that the Queen has been pleased to approve, under the Bank of England Act 1998, that Mervyn King be re-appointed Governor of the Bank of England for a period of five years when his present term of office expires on 30 June 2008. His leadership and experience will continue to prove invaluable to the Bank of England.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Ivan Lewis) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) report laid before Parliament on 29 January highlighted inconsistencies in how eligibility criteria are being applied. In response I have asked CSCI to conduct a review.
I have written to Dame Denise Platt, chair of CSCI, outlining the terms of reference and a copy has been placed in the Library.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The Administration and Works Committee has agreed the following changes to the use of the former Lord Chancellors accommodation:
Principal and Principal Mezzanine Floors
The large corner room on the Principal Floor (room 1479), currently designated a Writing Room, will be converted into an open plan office space to accommodate the Lord Speakers private office, and staff of the Overseas Office, the Information Office and the Clerk of the Parliaments Office. This will free up office space currently used by those members of staff in rooms 1476 and 1477 (Principal Floor) and 1528/5116 and 1579 (Principal Mezzanine Floor) for use by Members as decant accommodation during the refurbishment of the Millbank Island site.
Two new meeting rooms for Members will be provided through conversion of the dining room (1735) and the sitting room (1736). Both rooms will be bookable through the attendants. Front-Bench Members of the political parties will have use of room 1735. All Members will have equal right to the booking of room 1736.
The south front bedroom (1737) will be converted into an office with desks for use by Members (for Government supporters). This will be an interim measure until additional office space becomes available following the departure of the Law Lords in 2009.
The corner bedroom (1738) and dressing room (1739) will be retained for the use of the Lord Speaker when required.
The river front bedroom (1740) will be converted into an office for the Senior Attendant responsible for supervision of the River Room; and the small office adjoining the kitchen (1734) will be converted into a rest room facility for female attendants and doorkeepers.
The River Room (1741) will continue to be retained for entertaining on behalf of the House and for official charitable purposes; and the kitchen and
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The committee agreed that the reallocation of the use of the rooms in the former Lord Chancellors flat should not prejudice any future decisions about the use of the former residence.
Planning will now begin to effect these changes.
I have placed a plan of the former Lord Chancellors accommodation, with details of current room numbering, in the Library of the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My honourable friend the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration and Minister for the West Midlands (Liam Byrne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Last year the Government introduced a new strategic approach to charging for immigration and nationality services. This meant that we moved away from simple cost recovery fees in a number of areas, setting fees at levels that reflect the value of the service to the would-be migrant. Certain fees saw increases which will help contribute to the doubling of resource for enforcement activity over the next few years. As set out in the Enforcement Strategy published in March 2007, this resource will help to continue building on our success in strengthening our borders and to ensure and enforce compliance with the immigration laws by those who we allow to come to the UK.
The Government review fees for immigration and nationality services on a regular basis and make appropriate changes as necessary. We believe that significant increases are not necessary for 2008-09 but that we should continue to develop the strategic approach of setting fees on the basis of the value of the service.
Some fees will continue to be set at or below levels that reflect the administrative costs of the service. These fees must be set out in regulations before both Houses of Parliament and are subject to the negative procedure. Those fees that are set at levels above the normal administrative costs of the serviceeither to allow us to set certain fees below cost recovery or to contribute to the true end-to-end costs of the immigration systemmust also be specified in regulations before both Houses, but are subject to the affirmative process.
Yesterday I laid regulations setting fees for certain areas of the immigration system, including the first parts of the new points-based system to be implemented.
These regulations propose fees for applications for:tier 1 general leave to remain;a licence to sponsor prospective migrants who will apply to come to the UK under tier 2;certain existing entry clearance routes; andcertificates of entitlement of right of abode.
These fees are set above normal cost recovery levels.
Today I am announcing our proposals for all the immigration and nationality fees we intend to charge during 2008-09 in order that Parliament may consider fee regulations made yesterday in context.
We will make regulations setting out other proposed fees for appropriate scrutiny by Parliament shortly before implementation, including for the rest of the points-based system and for biometric ID cards.
Fees for new services under the points-based system are proposed at broadly the same level as their existing comparator services. We do not intend to make further changes in 2008-09 to fees charged for applications made in the UK, including where a biometric ID card is to be issued to a successful applicant.
A full table of fees proposed for 2008-09 is set out below.
|Service||2007-08 fee £||Proposed fee £|
|Current Service||Proposed New Service||Current fee £||Proposed fee £|
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