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Successive redesigns have opened up a range of spaces on various select committees, and we have to commend the promotion of select committee chairs and members.
Reforms over a decade ago that introduced elections to the select committee system have energized the committees and enhanced their reputation for scrutiny and expertise. The presence of the members of the select committee will reflect on the government, and we wish them good luck.
In running for chair of the Treasury Select Committee, my intention is to continue Mel Stride’s excellent work of independently reviewing the work of the Treasury and that of our other financial institutions.
A prosperous economy, coupled with sound finances, offers the best opportunities to help those less fortunate
I would firmly uphold the independence of the Treasury Select Committee and continue to manage it in an inclusive manner. Naturally, this would involve consulting with members on our work and investigations, while welcoming suggestions from backbench MPs more widely to ensure we fully reflect the concerns of our constituents across the UK.
As a qualification, since leaving the military I have gained considerable experience in the financial markets having worked in the city as a fund manager managing a range of portfolios primarily for charities and private clients , first as director of Henderson private clients, then as director of Rothschild asset management.
For several years after leaving town and becoming an MP, I helped charities monitor their fund managers. Since 2009, I have also contributed a monthly column to Investors’ Chronicle magazine, with proceeds going to charities, which I share with members. My columns in recent years have suggested that policymakers around the world have fallen behind in tackling inflation, and they have also criticized the extension of quantitative easing.
I have also asked questions when some regulators have neglected the interests of consumers, and both inside and outside the House have championed the cause of small business. Not only do small businesses employ most people in the private sector, but they are critically important to the vitality of our economy.
I remain a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, speak occasionally at financial seminars, and authored the Financial Times Guide to Investment Trusts, now in its second edition. I have experience in a small business, as a director of Equi Limited, which runs an investment fund website, and I chair the investment committee of Baron & Grant.
As someone who identifies as a conservative of a nation, I believe that a prosperous economy, coupled with sound finances, is not an end in itself, but offers the best opportunities to help those who are less wealthy. It is clear that the economic situation is difficult, but compassionate policies can help us get through these difficult times together.
Finally, while it is welcome that chairmen and members of select committees join the government from the back seats, a tendency has developed among recent government parties to seek a place on select committees, often as President. One view is that this may weaken the ability of backbench MPs to hold the government to account and sitting on these committees should not become an informal extension of party leadership patronage.
John Baron, Conservative MP for Basildon and Billericay.
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