Government Acts To Ensure Financial Stability

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The Department for Business today laid an Order in Parliament to enable Ministers to intervene and make decisions on mergers that may impact on the UK’s financial stability.

The Government announced it would be seeking Parliamentary approval for this change on 18 September, at the same time as it issued an intervention notice in relation to the proposed merger of Lloyds TSB Group plc with HBOS plc.

Minister for Economic Competitiveness and Small Business, Shriti Vadera, said today:

“The Government took swift action in relation to the proposed merger of Lloyds and HBOS to support the UK financial system.

“In the present economic climate it is vital that financial stability can be considered alongside competition questions.”

The Order must now be passed by both Houses of Parliament.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Section 42 of the Enterprise Act gives the Secretary of State the power to issue an intervention notice to the Office of Fair Trading where he suspects that a merger or a proposed merger may raise issues that relate to a public interest consideration that has been specified under Section 58 of that Act.
  2. Section 58 of the Enterprise Act currently specifies two considerations as being matters of public interest namely, national security and plurality of media ownership. Section 58 also provides for the Secretary of State to specify new public interest considerations by Order.
  3. The Office of Fair Trading issued an Invitation for Comments on the 18 September inviting submissions on the proposed Lloyds TSB – HBOS merger. The OFT must deliver its report to the Secretary of State by the 24 October 2008.
  4. BERR will publish a supporting document on its website today that sets out the reasons for the issuing of the Intervention Notice.
  5. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK business succeed in an increasingly competitive world.  It promotes business growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda and champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively priced energy supplies.

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