Clause 1

Part of Financial Mutuals Arrangements Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:45 am ar 25 Ebrill 2007.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 9:45, 25 Ebrill 2007

I entirely agree with the comments of the hon. Member for Bournemouth, West, who replied to the first of the two questions asked by the hon. Member for Twickenham. When we debated this matter in detail on Second Reading, I said that I was pleased that my party had achieved cross-party support. By saying “cross-party” I meant not simply the Labour party and the Co-operative party, but support among Opposition Members as well.

The speeches that we have heard from the right hon. Member for Skipton and Ripon and the hon. Member for Macclesfield, supporting the Bill and the values and principles that underpin the role that mutuals play in our society, are welcome and important in respect of constituencies throughout the country. Mutuals and building societies are playing the role that the right hon. Gentleman has just mentioned, and if we can take action to help them do so, either through direct Government legislation or by backing such a Bill as this, it is right and proper that we do so.

I apologise to hon. Members if they feel that the Treasury has been over-cautious in its desire to ensure full and proper parliamentary scrutiny and accountability, but I say to the right hon. Gentleman that this is the way that the modern Treasury seeks to proceed, and it will continue to do so whenever possible.