As chair of the Treasury Committee, I would champion compassionate economic policy
Successive reshuffles have opened up a range of spaces on various select committees, and we should congratulate the promotion of select committee chairs and members.
The reforms over a decade ago bringing in elections to the select committee system have turbocharged the committees and enhanced their reputation for scrutiny and expertise. The presence of select committee members will reflect well on the government, and we wish them well.
In standing for the chairmanship of the Treasury Select Committee, my intention is to continue Mel Stride’s excellent work of independently scrutinising the Treasury’s work and that of our other financial institutions.
A prosperous economy, coupled with sound finances, provides the best opportunities to help those who are less fortunate
I would strongly maintain the independence of the Treasury Select Committee and continue to run it in an inclusive way. Naturally, this would involve consulting the members as to our work and enquiries, while also welcoming suggestions from backbenchers more widely in order to ensure we fully reflect the concerns of our constituents across the United Kingdom.
By way of qualification, since leaving the Army I have gained considerable experience of financial markets having worked in the City as a fund manager running a range of portfolios mostly for charities and private clients, first as a director of Henderson private clients and then as a director of Rothschild asset management.
For a number of years after leaving the City and becoming an MP, I assisted charities to monitor their fund managers. Since 2009 I have also contributed a monthly column to the Investors’ Chronicle magazine, with the fees donated to charities, which I have been sharing with Members. My columns over recent years have suggested that policymakers across the world have been behind the curve in combatting inflation, and they have also been critical of the extension of quantitative easing.
I have also questioned when some regulatory authorities have neglected the interests of consumers, and both inside and outside the House have promoted the case for smaller companies. Smaller companies not only employ most people in the private sector but are of crucial importance to the dynamism of our economy.
I remain a member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, occasionally speak at financial seminars and have written the Financial Times Guide to Investment Trusts, which is now in its second edition. I have smaller company experience, being a director of Equi Limited, which runs an investment trust website, and chair the investment committee at Baron & Grant.
As someone who identifies as a One Nation Conservative, I believe that a prosperous economy, coupled with sound finances, is not an end in itself but provides the best opportunities to help those who are less fortunate. Clearly the economic situation is challenging, but compassionate policies can get us through these tough times together.
Finally, whilst it is welcome that select committee chairs and members join the government from the backbenches, a tendency has developed for the recently departed from government to seek a berth on the select committees, often as chair. A view is that this can weaken the ability of backbenchers to hold the government to account and serving on these committees should not become an informal extension of the party leaderships’ patronage.
John Baron, Conservative MP for Basildon and Billericay.
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