Financial Services Future Regulatory Framework Review. HM Treasury has closed its consultation on the post-Brexit Future Regulatory Framework for the UK financial sector. The outcomes of the review will inform a Financial Services Bill expected later this year.
The ‘competitiveness’ agenda. At the heart of the Government’s proposed new regulatory framework is a statutory objective for regulators to promote the ‘international competitiveness’ of the UK finance industry. Chaminda Jayanetti sets out the issue for OpenDemocracy.
A statutory net zero goal? The Government’s proposals seek to strengthen the regulatory oversight of the financial sector’s climate impacts. But environmental NGOs and others argue that this does not go far enough, urging new statutory objectives obliging regulators to steer the financial system towards the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Financialisation and the ‘finance curse’. The wider background to the Government’s financial reform proposals is the increasing size and impact of the financial sector since its deregulation in the 1980s. The concept of ‘financialisation’ has been used to describe the increasing size of the financial sector relative to the rest of the economy and the increasing use of financial metrics in companies and in society The Transnational Institute explains the concept and history of financialisation and explores its impacts.
Innovative thinking about financial regulation. FIL’s ‘Transforming Finance’ project produces a range of resources on how to repurpose the financial system to meet social and environmental as well as economic goals.
Has the Bank of England got it wrong? Raising interest rates to try to control inflation because wages are rising is a mistake, argues Geoff Tily, the TUC’s chief economist. Pay growth continues to slow, not accelerate, and is well below inflation (as the latest figures show.) Oxford economist Simon Wren-Lewis points out that aggregate demand in the UK economy is still very weak; as inflation hits real incomes, higher interest rates could tip the economy into recession.
Corporate power = inflation? Concentrated corporate power is a key factor in rising prices and ‘is almost never discussed’, says Popular Information’s Judd Legum. Corporations are not forced to raise prices to stay afloat, but instead are able to raise prices and maintain large profits due to their large share of market power, he argues.
Price controls. Voters support the idea of governments capping the price of food and other essentials to combat the cost of living crisis, according to a new poll by Opinium. 71 per cent of voters backed such measures, with just 7 per cent opposed. Support came from across the political spectrum, with Conservative voters even more likely to support price controls than the general population. NEON’s Dora Meade has more on the numbers here.
The Conservative Party and net zero. Conservative MPs and peers in the Net Zero Scrutiny Group (NZSG) have recently stepped up their activities, warning that net zero ambitions will make people ‘colder and poorer’. Environment NGOs are worried that the Prime Minister’s political weakness will lead to concessions on green policies. The Green Alliance’s Shaun Spiers writes on the growing rifts in the Conservative party in this area.
Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor. The NewClimate Institute has launched a Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor, assessing the ‘net zero’ and ‘carbon neutrality’ targets of 25 major companies. It finds that of the companies investigated, most lack transparency and their targets are undermined by excluding emissions from reports. (Twitter thread summary here.)
Windfall tax. Tax Justice UK added its voice to calls for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, noting that BP made £18,000 in profits per minute in 2021. Campaigners argue that a tax could be used to fund ‘proper support’ for people struggling with rising energy bills.
Public ownership. We Own It has launched a campaign calling for energy companies to be brought into public ownership to combat rising bills. Their demands of the government include a ‘permanent windfall tax’ and the introduction of a new state-owned renewable energy company.
Energy price cap. Citizens Advice’s Alex Belsham-Harris looks at Ofgem’s past failures to regulate poorly run companies and how it could have avoided supplier exits from the market due to energy price cap costs.
Mapping the climate movement. Activist Natasha Adams has mapped the UK climate movement. She draws eight key recommendations for climate organising.
Gigafactories. The government is falling behind on plans to build an electric vehicle battery industry, finds Sky News’ Ed Conway. With global production of electric vehicles growing rapidly, the government has set aside £500m to support investment in new battery plants. But the UK lags behind other countries in developing this sector, a problem exacerbated by Brexit.
Shrinking the state? Members of the Prime Minister’s new Downing St team have been setting out his priorities. Chief of Staff Steve Barclay MP says that ‘cutting back on the size of the state must be a priority’ following the pandemic. Head of Policy Andrew Griffith MP said the priorities were to ‘grow employment, tackle the NHS backlog, control our borders, make streets safer, bring down the cost of living and return rapidly to the point when we can cut taxes’. Observers noted that levelling up and net zero were not included.