Labour would support social finance amendments to finance bill, says peer

Baroness Thornton says her party 'will be interested in' backing amendments to be tabled by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Phillips of Sudbury

Baroness Thornton
Baroness Thornton

Labour "will be interested in" backing proposed amendments to the Financial Services Bill that would require the successors to the Financial Services Authority to support social finance, according to Labour peer Baroness Thornton.

The amendments to the bill, which is before the House of Lords, are to be put forward by Lord Phillips of Sudbury, the Liberal Democrat peer and founder of law firm Bates Wells & Braithwaite.

A statement from the firm said the text of the amendments had not been finalised but they would recognise the "desirability" of social investment generally and require the two new regulators that will replace the FSA to support the development of social investment where this is compatible with their other objectives.

The bill as a whole will lay down the duties for the Prudential Regulation Authority, which will be responsible for major financial institutions, and the Financial Conduct Authority, which will be responsible for protecting consumers.

In a House of Lords debate on social enterprise last week, Thornton said: "I rather hope that the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, will explain to the house and give us a pre-run of the amendments that I understand he is about to put down on the Social Finance Bill.

"We will be interested in supporting them, because they are the heart of how we get social investment into the Financial Services Bill."

Chris Leslie, Labour MP for Nottingham East and shadow financial secretary to the Treasury, previously tabled an amendment that would have required the FCA to promote social finance, but was defeated.

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