I have received 370 representations following my request for views on the "no discrimination" rule, which requires traders to charge the same price for purchases made with credit cards as for those paid for by cash or other means. I am still considering these before reaching a decision.
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his statement. As and when a decision is taken, will he ensure that the interest of the consumer is paramount? In this context, the consumer is not only the individual who uses the credit card, but the supplier who looks to the credit card company for payment.
I agree that the interests of the consumer are paramount. The difficulty in this case is to decide which alternative best serves the interests of the consumer.
Does my right hon. Friend recognise that outstanding credit on a monthly basis in relation to credit cards equals only 6 per cent. in comparison with the total credit outstanding? Will he note, therefore, that the Labour party's attempt to penalise credit in relation to credit card holders is extremely marginal, like the rest of Labour policy?
My hon. Friend is right. The point here is not credit control, but what is in the best interests of consumers, as my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness (Mr. Franks) said in his supplementary question.