OBL at the Labour Party Conference 2023 – round-up

12 October 2023

The Open Banking Limited team were in Liverpool this week at Labour Party Conference, where the overarching themes of the economy and the country’s finances, as well as bringing about growth across the UK, were the focus. The transformational role of tech in powering the UK took centre stage several times throughout the conference, with a recognition that Labour’s five missions are all underpinned by digital innovation.

Shadow Chancellor Rt Hon Rachel Reeves MP outlined that the economic mission will pave the way for the other four missions. In her keynote speech, she outlined the need to increase investment and the building of infrastructure around the country to bring about growth. In later events, she stated the need for increased investment and innovation in the UK, recognising that businesses often seek capital in other countries due to the limited access to financing domestically.

Open banking as an engine of the digital economy was the focus of our panel event, which we held in partnership with NatWest Group and TrueLayer. Chair and Trustee Marion King began the discussion by highlighting the growth of open banking before highlighting the importance of equal access and fairness for all stakeholders.

Marion then outlined the challenges of scaling within the UK, noting the desirability to look beyond the country’s borders before opening the discussion to the rest of the panel – Mo Mizra from TrueLayer, Stephen Wright from NatWest Group, Peter Dowd MP and Lord McNicol, Vice Chairs of the Fair Business Banking All-Party Parliamentary Group, and Virendra Sharma MP. Other parliamentarians in attendance included Shadow Minister for Crime Reduction Naz Shah MP and Member of the Treasury Select Committee Siobhain McDonagh MP.

Opportunity for growth in other areas driven by open banking

The discussion then turned to the practical roles open banking can play in society, including in reducing fraud, the significance of open banking for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), big tech’s entry into the UK’s open banking ecosystem, and the opportunity for growth in other areas stemming from open banking – such as the improvement of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) delivery.

Stephen Wright from NatWest Group summarised by discussing the high-level benefits of open banking, emphasising its role in providing consumers with choice, saving time, and fostering innovation within the financial sector.

It was noted that the true value of open banking can be seen through the experiences and advantages it delivers to individuals and businesses. Overall, it was another successful panel discussing the benefits of open banking and the advantages it can bring to consumers and businesses in the UK.

Later that day, Marion attended a private roundtable with the Startup Coalition, hosted by Lord McNicol. This served as a useful opportunity to update smaller fintech firms on open banking progress, as well as hear from them about the challenges they’re facing – now and in the future. Separately to the organised events, OBL representatives caught up with Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds MP, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband MP, Shadow Paymaster General Jonathan Ashworth MP, Lord Mandelson and others.

This week’s Labour Party Conference sought to showcase a vision for increased and sustained economic growth across the UK. Just as in Manchester, we spoke to stakeholders on working together to increasingly inform both industry and consumers on the benefits of open banking, and how we can continue to revolutionise the UK’s financial landscape through open banking. We look forward to working closely with both parties in the run-up to the General Election next year.