VoteClimate: Financial Services: UK Economy - 9th December 2021

Financial Services: UK Economy - 9th December 2021

Here are the climate-related sections of speeches by MPs during the Commons debate Financial Services: UK Economy.

Full text:

13:33 Anthony Browne (South Cambridgeshire) (Con)

During this hideous pandemic, I am glad to say that the financial services sector stepped up to the plate and played a crucial role in keeping the economy going. It lent more than £75 billion in emergency finance to nearly 2 million businesses. Indeed, it lent £101 million to more than 2,000 businesses in my constituency of South Cambridgeshire. To help homeowners, lenders also gave nearly 3 million mortgage deferrals during the pandemic. The financial services sector certainly has played its part in ensuring that the economy has bounced back so quickly. Now, guided by the Government, it is also increasingly playing a critical role in ensuring that we reach net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. From green bonds to climate-related financial disclosures to carbon markets, the financial services sector will help, rather than hinder, in the biggest challenge facing humankind: stopping climate change.


13:54 Angela Eagle (Labour)

The systems that control financial services have to deal with the practical and philosophical issues that arise, such as whether digital coins are ever stable, what central banks ought to be doing to deal with that, and whether the wild west of Bitcoin and the rest should be left as a gambling thing on the side. Those markets can be volatile—the wild west—but the capacity of software such as open registers and blockchain, and their potential for transparency and in-time and open trading of all sorts of things, could be harnessed for good purposes as well as for the more nefarious ones that feature on the darker edges of the net. On top of that, the demands of climate change will cause a systemic change in the way that things are valued, priced and assessed for value.


14:16 Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon) (Con)

Finally, the Government have done a huge amount of good work already in delivering the net-zero economy from financial services. Financial services can do much more in that area; all sorts of things, particularly using the tax system, have been done already, but we can do much more, and the financial services sector must play its role to deliver that objective.


14:38 Sir Robert Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst) (Con)

My final point is on the contribution the City of London Corporation makes in areas such as green finance. A huge amount is being done. The City Corporation, with the Government, provided the seed funding for the first three years of the Green Finance Institute. That, of course, has been involved in building coalitions of private finance actors. The most obvious of those is the Coalition for the Energy Efficiency of Buildings. The work of the City Corporation in such areas, and in bringing forward and helping to promote and organise a bespoke platform, the Green horizons summit at COP26, shows the innovation of the financial services sector and the City as its great champion.


14:46 Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)

In that regard, Scottish Financial Enterprise’s five-year strategy, launched earlier this year, takes on a particular importance. It has four key objectives, including leading us on a journey to net zero, inspiring global leadership in green finance and supporting the transition to net zero. It sees a role in supporting our financial recovery post pandemic. It is about responding to changing customer needs, delivering innovative and, above all, inclusive products that meet the evolving needs of all customers. And to go back to the point made well by the hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden, it is also about delivering skills and inclusion, enabling financial services firms to recruit, develop and retain that pipeline of talent and high-performing, diverse skills that we need to continue with a successful industry.


14:52 Tulip Siddiq (Labour)

I agree with the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire that the biggest challenge facing the UK is the climate crisis and the transition to a green economy. I also agree with him that the Treasury Committee needs proper support, because it is the most important Committee in the House. Labour has committed to £28 billion a year of capital investment every year until 2030 to support the green transition.


15:00 John Glen (Conservative)

My hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill) put a stark statistic before us when he said that more than 36% of his constituents worked in financial services and the broader legal and professional services sector. It is a critical sector for our economy. The financial services sector also has a crucial role to play in our response to climate change. The ambition is clear: we want the UK to be the best place in the world for green and sustainable investment. As a Government we have taken bold action in this area to transform the UK financial sector. That has involved introducing new economy-wide sustainability disclosure requirements for businesses, and the kick-starting of a green financing programme with two record-breaking sovereign green bonds: one for around £10 billion on 21 September and a further £6 billion on 21 October, achieving a “greenium”—a premium on what we would have gained from a non-green bond—of around 2.5 base points. We will not be complacent about this. We also need global action on green finance, and the Chancellor recently hosted the COP26 finance day, which saw financial firms with assets of over £130 trillion committing to net zero.


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