Hill: Premium differential exposes flaw in single market for services

Hill: Premium differential exposes flaw in single market for services

British EU commissioner Lord Hill has said the single market does not work in many areas of financial services and said he wants to find out why.

Speaking to a committee in the House of Lords last week, the former Conservative peer said the single market did not work in several areas, such as insurance.

The European Commissioner for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union gave the example of Belgium, where drivers pay twice as much for car insurance as they do in Poland.

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Lord Hill said: “The driving in Belgium is lively if you have ever been to Brussels, but I can’t believe it is so much more lively than Polish driving that it would account for a difference of 100 per cent.

“Can that be attributed simply to differential risk in different countries or is it a sign that we don’t have a fully operating single market?”

He said that across financial services as a whole, there were a number of different reasons that one had to try to unpack as to why the single market did not work, adding: “There is no one lever I can pull, but there will be a lot of quite detailed, unglamourous work to come up with a solution.”

Lord Hill was appearing before the House of Lords EU economic and financial affairs sub-committee to talk about the issue of the capital market union.

This would integrate Europe’s capital markets and, the European Commission claims, boost investment in business.

Among the early priorities for the union are cross-border crowdfunding schemes, perks for infrastructure investment and pan-European pension products.

Lord Hill said a Green Paper on the proposals would be released this month as part of a consultation, which will look at areas to do with insolvency law and tax law.

He said that he expected definitive plans for the union to be laid out by the summer.

Adviser view

Scott Gallacher, a financial planner at Leicester-based Rowley Turton, said: “I get the impression that the UK is cheaper than the rest of Europe, which I think is because we have had well- regulated financial advice that has driven down costs.

“The idea of a single market across financial services across Europe is hard because it is still very country specific.”