Lords Committee finishes FSM Bill debate

The tenth and final sitting in the House of Lords Grand Committee on the FSM Bill took place on 23 March. The discussion moved to:

  • adding new regulated activities in relation to climate and nature offsets, tabled by Lady Worthington, which she said would address risks to consumers of misselling. Baroness Penn replied that the Government recognises the potential for off-setting to enable businesses to address emissions that cannot be reduced through decarbonisation strategies, but says the appropriate time to consider bringing the sector within regulation would be once market standards have been published. The Government can then assess what it is appropriate to regulate and how, and it may go wider than the financial sector. On that basis, the amendments were withdrawn;
  • a power to allow both Houses of Parliament, on agreement, to mandate that affirmative resolution statutory instruments made under the Act be amended as stated by Parliament – this would allow either House to insist on an enhanced form of scrutiny for appropriate instruments, which it could not do absent this power. This is now known as the “super-affirmative” power, which has been used with other legislation. Baroness Penn said the Government does not believe this to be necessary, explaining that the powers in relation to retained EU law in the Bill are broad but also restricted in a number of important ways. Lord Sharkey withdrew the amendments, but said the super-affirmative power amendments would return on Report;
  • a power to allow quick movement to take advantage of the post-Brexit rules so that, for instance, the retained AIFMD laws which the UK never liked could be quickly repealed. Baroness Penn stated the Government will prioritise areas of greatest benefit for reform, but will not repeal retained laws until there is an appropriate alternative in place.

The Bill now moves to Report stage.

Emma Radmore