MPs Pour Cold Water on City Reforms

One year on, the Treasury Select Committee is claiming that the chancellor has not delivered on the Edinburgh reforms

Alliance News 8 December, 2023 | 10:03AM
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An influential group of MPs are calling out the chancellor for not fulfilling a set of reforms to the City, saying they have been left feeling like a “damp squib”.

The Treasury Select Committee said chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s claims to have delivered on the majority of the so-called Edinburgh reforms laid out last December. However, the changes have not materialised.

According to the committee, the chancellor says he has completed 21 of the 31 reforms to financial services he set out last year – but the group’s analysis found that six of the 21 are in fact not complete.

A further six should not have even been considered reforms in the first place, the committee says, as these include publishing documents or welcoming a consultation, which is not the same as reforming something.

Committee Chair Harriett Baldwin says: “More than a decade after the financial crash and six years after the UK voted to leave the EU, the Treasury was absolutely right to look at updating regulation of the financial services sector and identifying rules which needed to be reformed or removed to encourage growth in this important economic sector."

The Edinburgh reforms include changes to short selling disclosures, new remits for watchdogs, repeals of some EU rules and reforming some taxes.

Baldwin, a Conservative MP, says: “We welcome many of the changes as logical and sensible measures. We do, though, question the validity of claims that welcoming consultations, establishing reviews or publishing documents should be considered reforms.

“The Edinburgh reforms were given considerable fanfare last December but, 12 months on, the lack of progress or economic impact has left them feeling like a damp squib.”

In a press release to mark the year anniversary of the Edinburgh reforms, the government said it had delivered 22 of the 31 promises.

Without acknowledging the Treasury committee's claims, economic secretary to the Treasury Bim Afolami said in the release: “My number one priority in this role is to deliver on the Edinburgh reforms.

“The reforms have shown the UK's dedication to fostering a sensible, innovative and robust financial landscape – over the past year we've made significant strides towards creating an environment that supports economic growth, openness and the well-being of savers.”

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