HC Deb 30 January 2003 vol 398 c990W
Mr. Burnett

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to open(a) the banking money transmission service and (b) central clearing to all major clearing banks. [94380]

Ruth Kelly

The Government are closely monitoring developments in money transmission systems‒otherwise known as payment systems—and will introduce legislation to give the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) new powers to promote effective competition in payment systems as soon as parliamentary time allows. It is envisaged that these new powers will include provisions designed to tackle potential restrictions on access to payment systems.

Progress has already been made through, for example, reforms to the governance structures of the main UK payment systems. The Government welcome these moves by payment system participants to address the competition issues identified by the Cruickshank report and urges the industry to continue with these reforms.

To promote its understanding of how payment systems operate, and to help pave the way for its prospective powers, the OFT announced on 27 November that it will conduct an empirical study into recent payment system developments, starting early in 2003.