Brexit, financial services and rethinking transport strategy at the Labour party conference fringe 2019

Robert Pettigrew shares his observations on a series of fringe meetings and policy roundtable discussions from the Labour party conference in Brighton.

It was never likely that Brexit would not feature prominently within the conference hall and on fringe at the Labour party’s annual conference in Brighton this week. Yet an early morning fringe meeting — ostensibly a gathering organised by the Society of Labour Lawyers with a nominated theme of Brexit and financial services — was packed out some time before the discussion was scheduled to start.

The panel, which comprised the Chair of the House of Commons’ Exiting the EU Select Committee (Hilary Benn), the shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Jonathan Reynolds), a Member of the European Parliament, the Vice-President of the Law Society and one of the party’s economic policy advisers, discussed the state of the Brexit process and the importance of satisfactory arrangements for this part of the economy after the UK’s departure from the EU.

We were told that UK financial services are the third most reliant sector on the European Union — and panellists considered that it was a clear failure of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement that no provisions were included. The risk posed by Brexit to UK financial services were similar to those of a ‘slow puncture’ (rather than the much-fabled cliff-edge); no-deal would be likely to deprive us of good will, we were told. Flaws in some of the statutory instruments which have been passed to deal with Brexit were described.

 At a lunchtime roundtable, chaired by Professor David Begg and addressed by the shadow Transport Secretary, Andy McDonald MP, the policy priorities for rethinking rail delivery was discussed. The Chair reflected on debates from twenty years ago — when I was working at the Strategic Rail Authority, on which he served on the Board — and the parallels in the debates which are now taking place.

Speculation about what the conclusions of the ongoing Williams Review as well as  the work being undertaken by Professor Phil Goodwin at the Labour frontbench team’s request, might imply, the roundtable also considered addressing the collapse in public and political confidence in the rail sector; how approaches to major infrastructure projects could be improved; and, more fundamentally, how price signals between different modes of transport should be re-calibrated to achieve expressed policy objectives. Re-framing the arguments (for example, in terms of sustainability) should gain greater traction and improve public confidence.

P2PFA quarterly data reveals record number of lenders and borrowers

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) issued the following press notice this morning:


At the end of the second quarter of this year, more than 150,000 lenders were invested in 321,483 loans facilitated by Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) platforms – a record level of involvement in the sector.

During the three-month period between April and June 2019, £800 million of new loans were facilitated through P2PFA platforms, as cumulative lending enabled through the Association’s eight platforms broke £11.3 billion.

Commenting on the statistics, Robert Pettigrew, Director of the P2PFA, said: ‘the growing number of investors and borrowers in peer-to-peer lending are attracted by the innovative and competitive offer from P2PFA platforms. By embracing high levels of transparency and demonstrating robust business practice, P2PFA platforms have secured demonstrable investor and borrower confidence as the UK peer-to-peer lending market develops further as an attractive, grown-up marketplace for loans which are open and accessible to a wide spectrum of investors and borrowers’.


Notes to Editors

  1. Peer-to-peer lending – regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority since April 2014 – involves direct matching of funds between investors and borrowers through an on-line platform. Investors range from retail consumers to institutional investors as well as the government-owned lenders. Borrowers range from consumers, small businesses, property developers and buy-to-let. Peer-to-peer lending platforms match investors and borrowers directly for a fraction of the cost of traditional financial services entities, providing benefits to customers on both sides of the transaction.
  2. The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) was established in 2011 as a representative and self-regulatory body for debt-based peer-to-peer lending. The P2PFA seeks to inform and educate, promote high standards of business conduct, and work with policy-makers and regulators to ensure an effective regulatory regime. P2PFA members are required to meet robust standards for the transparent, fair and orderly operation of peer-to-peer lending. The member platforms are: CrowdProperty, Crowdstacker, Folk2Folk, Funding Circle, Landbay, Lending Works, ThinCats and Zopa.
  3. Aggregate levels of peer-to-peer lending by P2PFA platforms between Q2 2018 and Q2 2019:

P2PFA aggregate lending (Q2, 2018 – Q2, 2019)

 Q2 2018Q3 2018Q4 2019Q1 2019Q2 2019
Cumulative lending£8,043,217,143£8,786,291,681£9,595,548,965£10,539,063,808£11,350,279,184
Base stock of loans£3,711,828,191£3,956,885,758£4,267,975,224£4,673,466,536£4,926,859,979
New lending£690,971,072£720,979,029£809,257,285£866,784,209£814,039,956
Capital repaid£435,267,000£457,325,319£454,966,728£476,972,062£514,184,610
Net lending flow£255,202,073£263,036,509£354,293,557£455,082,097£302,360,834

4. Aggregate P2PFA platform lending flows to non-consumers (businesses and property/real estate sectors) between Q2 2018 and Q2 2019 are contained below:

P2PFA non-consumer lending (Q2, 2018 – Q2, 2019)

 Q2 2018Q3 2018Q4 2019Q1 2019Q2 2019
Cumulative lending£4,509,345,016£4,991,382,520£5,519,645,135  
Business lending   £5,708,031,575£6,167,174,170
Property/Real Estate lending   £446,673,199£507,735,977
Base stock of loans£2,290,747,092£2,488,949,319£2,743,083,518  
Business lending   £2,737,245,538£2,859,702,500
Property/Real Estate lending   £338,056,167£392,655,484
New lending£420,499,764£459,941,996£526,777,616  
Business lending   £477,249,348£442,080,975
Property/Real Estate lending   £82,494,292£61,202,358
Capital repaid£225,610,955£243,143,627£243,389,445  
Business lending   £244,170,828£274,338,894
Property/Real Estate lending   £16,202,447£6,463,435
Net lending flow£194,386,810£216,181,168£283,391,171  
Business lending   £299,277,115£170,247,567
Property/Real Estate lending   £66,561,725£54,738,923

5. Aggregate P2PFA platform consumer lending flows between Q2 2018 and Q2 2019 are below:

P2PFA consumer lending (Q2, 2018 – Q2, 2019)

 Q2 2018Q3 2018Q4 2018Q1 2019Q2 2019
Cumulative lending£3,533,871,127£3,794,909,161£4,077,318,465£4,384,359,034£4,696,513,213
Base stock of loans£1,421,081,099£1,467,936,439£1,524,891,706£1,598,164,831£1,663,056,844
New lending£270,471,308£261,037,033£282,479,669£307,040,569£312,154,179
Capital repaid£209,656,045£214,181,692£211,577,283£216,598,787£234,763,647
Net lending flow£60,815,263£46,855,341£70,902,386£90,441,782£77,390,534

6. The number of current lenders and borrowers between Q2 2018 and Q2 2019 is presented in the table below:

P2PFA platform – lenders (investors) & Borrowers: Q2, 2018 – Q2 2019

 Q2 2018Q3 2018Q4 2018Q1 2019Q2 2019
Current lenders150,041148,484151,207152,921155,384
Current borrowers269,158278,313288,829304,902321,483
–       Business   49,84852,572
–       Property/Real Estate   819936

7. Cumulative P2PFA platform level lending data between Q2 2018 and Q2 2019:

P2PFA platform cumulative lending data (Q2, 2018 – Q2, 2019)

  Q2 2018 Q3 2018 Q4 2018 Q1 2019 Q2 2019
CrowdProperty £23,013,692£27,127,892£33,952,973£40,442,180
Funding Circle£3,806,000,000£4,183,000,000£4,625,000,000£5,044,000,000£5,422,000,000
Lending Works£115,658,873£131,862,745£145,075,844£161,954,993£181,286,828
TOTAL £8,043,217,142£8,786,291,681£9,595,548,965£10,539,063,808£11,350,279,184