New laws to protect access to cash and help victims of financial scams were announced by Her Majesty the Queen.

The new Financial Services and Markets Bill, announced in today’s Queen’s Speech at the state opening of parliament, will support consumers by protecting access to cash. It will ensure the continued availability of withdrawal and deposit facilities across the UK, and that the country’s cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term.

Cash remains an important payment method for millions of people across the UK, particularly those in vulnerable groups, and the government is committed to preserving it.

The Bill will also enable the Payment Systems Regulator to require banks to reimburse authorised push payment (APP) scam losses, totalling hundreds of millions of pounds each year. This will ensure victims are not left paying for fraud through no fault of their own

These measures form part of wider plans to maintain and enhance the UK’s position as a global leader in financial services, cutting red tape while maintaining high regulatory standards and ensuring the sector continues to deliver for individuals and businesses.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen said: “We are reforming our financial services sector now we have left the EU to ensure it acts in the interests of communities and citizens, creating jobs, supporting businesses, and powering growth across all of the UK.

“We know that access to cash is still vital for many people, especially those in vulnerable groups. We promised we would protect it, and through this Bill we are delivering on that promise.

“We are also sticking up for victims of financial scams that can have a devastating impact, by ensuring the regulator can act to make banks reimburse people who have lost money through no fault of their own.”

The Financial Services and Markets Bill delivers on the ambitious vision for the financial services sector set out by the Chancellor at Mansion House last year. It builds on the Financial Services Act 2021, which was the first step in amending the UK’s regulatory regime outside of the EU.

The Bill will make the most of the opportunities of Brexit, by establishing a coherent, agile and internationally-respected approach to financial services regulation that is right for the UK.

The main elements of the Bill

•   Revoking retained EU law on financial services and replacing it with an approach to regulation that is designed for the UK. This includes the Solvency II legislation governing the regulation of insurers, which the government has committed to reform.
•   Updating the objectives of the financial services regulators to ensure a greater focus on growth and international competitiveness.
•   Reforming the rules that regulate the UK’s capital markets, the engine of the UK economy, to promote investment.
•   Ensuring that people across the UK continue to be able to access their own cash with ease.
•   Introducing additional protections for those investing or using financial products, and to make it safer and support the victims of scams.
•   More details will be available when the Bill is formally introduced.