The minister for financial inclusion agreed that the need for stability is ‘really clear’

Treasury and City minister John Glen told insurance brokers attending Biba’s 2020 manifesto launch at the Houses of Parliament yesterday that Brexit “hasn’t gone away”, and that there are still “some serious issues to resolve”.

Addressing the brokers present, Glen said: “Over the last two years, I’ve sought to be a strong voice for the industry in Whitehall as we negotiated our departure from the [European Union (EU)].

“I intend to carry on being your advocate as one chapter closes in 10 days’ time and another begins. The EU has, so far, engaged positively with the UK’s proposals on our future financial service relationship and these seek to build on the EU’s third-party equivalence regime.

“But, I recognise that the industry has concerns around rule-taking and the government agrees that the current approach is too limited. The UK must be able to determine its own rules for financial services and I will continue to listen to your views as negotiations continue and as we forge a new path in the global economy.”

Glen further reassured brokers that although this “continues to be a frustrating time, we’re moving towards resolution”.

He added: “I’m very aware of the challenges and uncertainties that exist, and we are working very hard to make sure that the concerns of the financial services industry, and insurance brokers in particular, are heard at this time.”

Importance of social infrastructure

Glen was one of four speakers addressing brokers yesterday; he spoke alongside fellow MP and chair of the all-party group on insurance and financial services Craig Tracey, Biba chairmain Jonathan Evans and the trade association’s chief executive Steve White. The event was in celebration of Biba’s 2020 manifesto, themed around ‘access’.

For Glen, Biba’s manifesto theme rings true in alignment with his focus on the UK’s social infrastructure, which he described as “really core”.

“It’s when we address such issues [for example, social infrastructure] that we unlock the potential of the regions and we’ve got to be focused on those that are left behind and that, for me, means ensuring that our financial systems works for everyone, whoever they are, wherever they live and whatever their needs,” Glen said.

“Last month, I was pleased to sign off the latest review of the agreement on age and insurance.

“Let’s be really clear. No one should be denied the protections of insurance cover and the peace of mind it brings because of factors that are outside of their control.

“The fact that Biba’s Find Insurance service has had 700,000 enquiries since 2012 is an example of what can be achieved. Encouraging the uptake of contents insurance for tenants on low incomes is another example of where Biba members and the Treasury have been working closely together over the last year.”

Government focus

One of Biba’s manifesto actions is around reviewing regulatory data collection. This is an area that Glen confirmed the government will respond on “very shortly”.

He added: “The government has launched a review into the future regulatory framework, the first phase of which is focusing on the co-ordination of regulatory initiatives and I’m grateful very much to Biba for their response to our call for evidence on this subject, which like the manifesto, does highlight the burden that regulatory change can place on brokers and other small businesses.”

Glen confirmed that in such a fluctuating economic climate, the “need for stability and certainty is really, really clear”.

“Last month’s election was as much about change as it was about continuity, and whilst this government may contain some familiar faces round the table, it is a government with a new mandate and clear new priorities,” he said.