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My Yorkshire straight-talking approach is what the Treasury Select Committee needs

4 min read

Running to be Treasury Select Committee Chair, Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake writes that his non-partisan, robust, Yorkshire straight-talking approach would be an advantage in winning over Labour colleagues and holding HMT to account.

Parliament is a better place when it is made up of people who have experience of the real world.

Business people, lawyers, farmers, doctors, nurses and teachers can all bring their own first-hand knowledge to debates and the decision-making processes needed to help create the strong economy and fair society that we were elected to deliver.

That is exactly the reason why I have thrown my hat in the ring for the key role of Chair of the Treasury Select Committee.

I know what it is like to work night and day to set up a company from scratch and for it to be within a hair’s breadth of collapse. It happened at the height of the financial crisis as my estate agency, Hunters, came close to failing, principally due to the widespread economic malaise and the catastrophic impact that has on businesses like ours.

My businesses close collapse was also due to the lack of patience and increased charges we faced from our bankers.

I’m happy to say that, thanks to the combined efforts of all the directors as well as dogged determination and hard work, we managed to turn the business around. In 2015 it was listed on the London Stock’s Exchange junior market AIM.

I have not hesitated, as co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Business Banking, to draw upon my own personal experience to fight on behalf of other small businesses to win compensation from their banks for mistreatment. I am determined to see banks and financial services executives held to account for what they have unashamedly done to business people, who have invested everything and lost it all at the hands of these big institutions. 

We need to appoint a new Governor of the Bank of England. I want to see someone in place who will bring about a change of culture in the banks and who will make sure that small and medium-sized businesses have the voice that has long been denied to them. I will certainly not be frightened of holding the banks and key financial services institutions to account.

I voted to remain in the 2016 Referendum but I have always maintained that Parliament has a duty to the British people to deliver Brexit. I support Boris Johnson’s stance that ‘no deal’ should be left on the table for negotiating purposes.

However, this is certainly not the outcome that I want. If we are going to be successful in our negotiations, we need to offer an alternative solution to ‘no deal’ -such as the one advocated by my colleague, George Eustice MP.

This involves a compromise scenario in which the UK temporarily relies on our existing treaty rights to the EEA (European Economic Area) and allows us to re-join EFTA (European Union Free Trade Association) as our exit mechanism, whilst we negotiate our new, longer term trading relationship.

This means we would be outside the Customs Union, with an independent trade policy but would have a ready-made free trade agreement and have full control of agriculture and fisheries.

Nonetheless, we need to prepare and, if elected Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, I want to prioritise scrutinising and challenging the Treasury’s no deal preparations rather than accepting its analysis. I would want to know which preparations are on track, where there is work to be done and what is being done to ensure we are ready to leave without a deal so that everyone knows where we stand.

There are some highly respected names already in the field and I hope that my non-partisan, robust, Yorkshire straight-talking approach will be an advantage in winning over some of our Labour colleagues.

My background in business along with my experience with the APPG for Fair Business Banking – where I helped to take on Goliath by standing alongside David - gives me the experience and authority I need to fulfil this role and bring about real change within our financial system. 

Kevin Hollinrake is MP for Thirsk and Malton.

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