- The Industry and Regulators Committee has “undertaken scrutiny” of key regulators
- Committee calls for evidence before investigation as watchdogs face criticism
Labour’s Lord Clive Hollick to chair inquiry into British regulators
A House of Lords inquiry is planned to investigate the relationship between the Government and UK regulators amid concerns about independence and accountability.
The cross-party Industry and Regulators Committee, chaired by former media tycoon Lord Hollick, is calling for evidence ahead of an investigation into some of the country’s most powerful regulators, including the Financial Conduct Authority, Ofwat and Ofgem.
Other watchdogs facing the committee’s spotlight include the Pensions Regulator, the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority and the Office for Students.
Lord Hollick said the Committee has already “undertaken scrutiny” of certain regulators and plans to “shed light on the UK’s regulatory ecosystem and its effectiveness”.
According to the Department of Business and Commerce, there are 90 regulators across the UK, not including local authorities.
UK regulators cover a wide range of sectors and activities, and have different powers and responsibilities.
In some cases, for example, they have been given a specific task by parliament, and while many are funded by taxpayers, others are not.
The Industry and Regulators Committee’s investigation will focus on regulators classified as public bodies with a statutory role set by parliament.
Several British regulators have faced significant criticism in recent years, taking the blame for industry failures that occur under their watch.
Hollick was the former chief executive of United Business Media until April 2005 and then attempted to buy ITV while an employee of private equity firm KKR.
The FCA, for example, has been criticized for perceived failings in consumer protection, particularly in relation to high-profile cases such as the collapse of the Woodford Equity Income fund in 2019 and high fraud rates.
Meanwhile, Ofwat has been criticized for allowing water companies to pollute beyond set levels, while racking up huge amounts of debt, and Ofgem has been ridiculed for its oversight of the energy market after several companies collapsed in the wake of the surge. Of the prices.
Areas on which the Industry and Regulators Committee is seeking evidence include the balance between the responsibilities of regulators and those of the Government, as well as the skills and experience of regulators, and comparisons with international equivalents.
Lord Hollick said: ‘A common area of concern arising from all of these investigations is the relationship between the regulator and the Government, and the level of independence and accountability that regulators have.
‘Many regulators are taxpayer-funded public bodies and have significant powers; Therefore, it is vital that they are scrutinized and held accountable.
“This brief cross-sectional investigation will shed light on the UK regulatory ecosystem and its effectiveness.”