Rebecca was a member of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee from July 2010 to March 2015. The Committee was appointed by the House of Commons to examine the administration, expenditure and policy of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and its associated public bodies.
The remit of the Committee reflected the responsibilities of the Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills and included issues such as the Government's relationship with Royal Mail, competition policy, higher and further education, business competitiveness, and trade promotion.
As part of her role, Rebecca participated in a number of high profile campaigns such as:
One Government policy to come under the scrutiny of the BIS Committee was that of pub reforms. Of particular concern to Rebecca and the other members of the committee was the issue of tied pubs. Following advice from the Committee, the Government made a number of substantive reforms to its original proposal. These changes ultimately led to a change in the law which would now allow landlords to buy their beer on the open market and not from breweries at inflated prices. The new legislation also allows landlords independent rent reviews instead of being tied to rates set by breweries.
Rebecca understands the importance of pubs as central hubs of the community. She recognises the difficulties faced by small business owners and has been active in her support for reform of the pub industry in favour of hard working publicans.
One of the most high profile areas to come under the scrutiny of Rebecca and her colleagues on the BIS committee in recent times has been the issue of the Privatisation of Royal Mail. Rebecca voted strongly in favour of this policy. The committee praised the Government for meeting its objectives in terms of delivering a privatised Royal Mail service, although it did question whether taxpayers received value for money in relation to the initial share price. The full report of the Privatisation of Royal Mail can be found on the parliamentary website here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmbis/539/53….
The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee held an evidence gathering session on the regulation of payday loan companies following the Committee's report in 2012 on Debt Management. During this session, Rebecca grilled several representatives of payday lending outfits, the regulatory and consumer advice bodies, as well as members of the Financial Conduct Authority on the role and scope of payday lending in the UK.
This is an issue that Rebecca has long championed. Giving loans with a representative APR of over 5800% is not responsible. Encouraging people to defer on their payments is not responsible. Targeting vulnerable groups like students and the unemployed is not responsible. These practices need to stop and Rebecca believes that her work as part of the BIS Select Committee has gone a long way to reigning in the excesses of some of these unscrupulous firms.
Rebecca has continued her campaign and welcomed the recent regulations that came into force in April 2014, that will see Payday lenders monitored by the Financial Conduct Authority, including new rules that will force lenders to carry out affordability checks on customers.