Orders of the Day — Consumer Credit Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:28 pm on 9th June 2005.

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Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Trade and Industry) (Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs) 12:28 pm, 9th June 2005

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Before I begin my speech, let me welcome the hon. Members for Wealden (Charles Hendry) and for North Norfolk (Norman Lamb) to their new positions.

The Bill represents a major step towards a fairer, more competitive 21st century credit market for both consumers and industry. For 30 years, the consumer credit market has contributed positively to the building of what is now a thriving economy. Responsible use of credit has allowed consumers to enjoy high standards of living, and at the same time business has flourished. But since the foundations of our current legislative framework were established in 1974, everything about the market—from the providers to the consumers and the products—has changed immeasurably. Through the Bill we can complete much-needed reforms, and equip the credit sector to meet the challenges of the modern market.

The United Kingdom has one of the strongest and most efficient credit markets in the world. It represents a quarter of the European Union credit market generally, and more than half the EU credit card market. For most consumers, credit is a useful tool. A combination of sensible borrowing and saving enables them to enjoy the freedom that credit gives: for example, to improve their homes or buy season travel tickets. However, unfair lending and ill-informed borrowing decisions can cause real problems for some people.Many of us will know from our constituency postbags the misery that can be caused by unscrupulous lenders who coerce people into credit agreements that they neither need nor understand.