The three Cabinet Ministers the UK payments sector should get to know
Credit: Yau Ming Low / Shutterstock

The UK’s political leadership for the next five years, theoretically at least, has been confirmed by newly elected Prime Minister Keir Starmer. This includes Ministers with key oversight of the country’s extensive business network.

UK businesses and consumers already knew who to expect to see hold the top job regarding the economy before the general election results last Thursday (4 July) were announced. 

Rachel Reeves, who had been Labour’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, walked into the crucial role in tandem with Starmer taking the reins as PM on 5 July, after the political party cruised to victory with a 412-seat majority in the House of Commons.

“It is the honour of my life to have been appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer,” Reeve’s statement on her cabinet role read, shared on her X profile. “Economic growth was the Labour Party’s mission. It is now a national mission.”

As Chancellor, Reeves will be tasked with overseeing economic growth, but her role in deciding financial policy will ultimately have significant implications for the UK’s payments and fintech space.

Jonathan Reynolds, Business and Trade Secretary
Jonathan Reynolds, Business and Trade Secretary – Source: House of Commons

Some of Labour’s policies regarding these sectors have already been made clear. The party seems keen to continue facilitating Open Banking’s growth and adoption in the UK, for example, and has also noted the growing significance of AI to the country’s economy.

The new Chancellor has also been very vocal about retail banking. Labour took aim at its Conservative Party rivals on a few occasions this year for community banking services and accessibility declining under the then government’s watch.

Reeves is not the only Cabinet Secretary whose oversight and decisions will impact the fintech and payments sectors, as Jonathan Reynolds and Peter Kyle are two names the financial sector should keep in mind.

Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, and Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade, have been appointed as Business and Trade Secretary and Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary, respectively.

As Business and Trade Secretary, Reynolds’ remit will cover a range of areas affecting Britain’s fintech and payments sectors. This includes relations with domestic and international businesses, regulation and deregulation, international trade agreements, and import and export policies.

Fintech firms who export payments solutions abroad and those who import solutions and services from other prominent fintech markets, will see business practices fall under Reynolds political remit, for example.

Meanwhile, Kyle’s political agenda is much broader, covering some business aspects and a range of scientific and research areas. Perhaps the most significant for fintech could be AI, development and regulation of which should fall under the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (SIT) remit.

Peter Kyle, Science, Industry and Technology Secretary – Source: House of Commons

The newly chosen Cabinet has only been in power for a few days, but Britain’s future political leadership is keen to get stuck in with its political agenda across a range of policy areas. The British finance sector will benefit from working closely with this new government, which has presented itself throughout recent campaigning as a party of a business.

Responding to last week’s election result, David Postings, Chief Executive of UK Finance, a trade association, said: “I’d like to congratulate Sir Keir Starmer, Rachel Reeves and the rest of the Labour Party on their general election victory. 

“Labour have described financial services as one of the UK’s greatest success stories and said they will champion the sector. This level of political support is extremely welcome. 

“Throughout the election campaign, economic growth has been front and centre of the debate. Financial services has a vital role to play here, both as a major employer and through the support it provides to consumers and businesses up and down the country. 

”We recently outlined a range of policy ideas for the new government and I now look forward to working with them to deliver the best outcomes for our sector and the whole economy.”