• Research Briefing

    Savings Account and Health in Pregnancy Grant Bill: Committee Stage Report

    The Bill gives effect to decisions made as part of the initial review of public expenditure undertaken soon after the 2010 General Election. This Paper summarises proceedings in the Commons Committee Stage of the Bill. Several amendments proposed but none were successful. The paper complements Research Paper 10/66, which was prepared for the Second Reading of the Bill.

  • Research Briefing

    Keydata Investment Services in administration

    Keydata Investment Services was placed into administration by the Financial Services Authority in June 2009. The administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers, found a number of serious issues at the company, one of which was that many products sold as ISAs were in fact ineligible for tax-free saving status. More seriously, they subsequently found that income on certain investment products had not been paid in recent months, and, in the case of one type of investment, they had been unable to satisfy themselves as to the safe custody of the underlying assets", and suggested that "the assets have been liquidated and may have been misappropriated".

  • Research Briefing

    Equitable Life (Payments) Bill [Bill 62 of 2010-11]

    This paper has been written for the Second Reading debate in the House of Commons. The Bill provides the authority for a payments scheme for eligible former and current Equitable Life policyholders in respect of the consequences of maladministration by regulatory bodies as identified by the Ombudsman and accepted by government. The paper outlines the commercial problems of Equitable Life; the series of investigations into the regulation of its activities; and the work of the office of Sir John Chadwick in devising principles for designing a workable system of payments. The Bill is a short, simple and technical measure. Although the precise shape of the payments scheme is as yet unknown, this Bill provides the authority for money to be paid once it is set up and clarifies the tax treatment of future payments.

  • Research Briefing

    Taxpayer direct support to banks

    This Standard Note considers the Government's interventions ("direct support") in four major UK banks, namely Northern Rock, Bradford and Bingley, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Lloyds Banking Group (formerly Lloyds TSB and Halifax/Bank of Scotland). It considers the background of the "direct support" in the four banks, the role of the Government-owned UK Financial Investments Ltd in managing the taxpayers stakes in these banks, and the current valuation of these interventions. It also considers when the taxpayers' shareholdings in Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group might be sold, and the possible privatisation of Northern Rock, and Bradford and Bingley.

  • Research Briefing

    Financial Services Compensation Scheme

    This note outlines the background to and scope of the financial services compensation scheme (FSCS). Significant changes were made to the scheme in the summer of 2007 following the emergence of financial difficulties at the Northern Rock bank and in October 2008 following continued difficulties in the UK banking sector.

  • Research Briefing

    Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Bill [HL] [Bill No. 79 of 2009-10]

    The purpose of the Bill is to amend existing legislation governing the relationship between insurers and claimants, with specific regard to 'third parties', to make it easier and less expensive to claim compensation from insolvent defendants. Current legislation dictates that claimants must establish an insolvent defendant's liability before bringing a separate claim against their insurer. The Bill would enable claimants to sue the insolvent defendant's insurer directly, without having to sue the wrongdoer first. The Bill's provisions are largely uncontroversial, and have widespread support from the majority of stakeholders.

  • Research Briefing

    Co-operative & Community Benefit Societies and Credit Unions Bill [HL] Bill No. 50

    The Bill requires new industrial and provident societies (other than credit unions) to be registered as co-operative or community benefit societies, re-names the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts, and applies the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 to industrial and provident societies. The Bill also gives the Treasury powers to apply company law on the investigation of companies, company names and dissolution and restoration to the register, to industrial and provident societies, and to make provisions for credit unions corresponding to any provisions applying to building societies.