My regular newspaper column: Your MP Writes

The collapse of London Capital & Finance (LCF) has ruined the lives of thousands of people who have lost their life savings. The anger is rightly centred on the management and those who may have used misleading claims to sell a high risk product. But a long hard look also needs to be taken at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is supposed to regulate companies like LCF.

The moniker “FCA regulated” is often used by companies to suggest that they must be well run and secure. In reality, I have found it to be meaningless. Several years ago I reported an “FCA regulated” investment company to the FCA. I pointed out that they had left a string of debts with a value of several million pounds to various people around the country. They even owed money to the FCA itself because they had not been paying their registration fee. Yet, as of today, they still appear on the official register as an “FCA regulated” company. Either the FCA should be wound up and replaced or they start actually doing some regulating.

The architect of the school climate strikes was in Westminster last week to demand that MPs ban cars, planes and anything else that emits CO2. The advantage of using a 16 year-old to lecture MPs is that nobody is willing to ask her difficult questions or test the exact extent of her knowledge. Instead, MPs from all sides fawned and cooed and hung on to her every word.

In the real world, the drastic policies she and her team of minders are suggesting would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs. This is why Britain is right to move more gradually towards technology like electric cars and ground heat pumps. It will work but not quickly enough for Greta and her followers, who will be gluing themselves to buses for sometime to come.

Instead of skiving off to protest about CO2 emissions, Greta’s youthful followers might want to look a bit closer to home. Most schools these days organise a range of visits across the world. The Welsh organiser attends Atlantic College whose website lists the times when coaches arrive and depart for Heathrow Airport. Another organiser attends a school which has sent pupils off to Barbados to play a netball match. I wonder if any of these climate devotees would be willing to demand an end to school trips involving long haul flights. It might not save the planet but it will save us parents a few quid.

*Published online in the South Wales Argus on 30 April 2019*