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 am confident that we will not have to wait 30 years, because consumer credit and the use of consumer credit have grown rapidly for the reasons that we have described. I know that the hon. Gentleman has raised the issue of the test and the cap before, and I gave him an undertaking last time. I shall make it clear that there will be a review of the position if what we introduce does not work. I am very confident that the unfairness test and the ADR will work and that there will be no need for interest rate caps, but we will always keep that option open.

The Bill is about consumers being confident that they are borrowing from responsible lenders, and that is why our second objective is to improve the regulation of consumer credit businesses. The bureaucracy associated with licence renewals, together with limited information-gathering powers and lack of intermediate sanctions, hampers the Office of Fair Trading in running the licensing regime and in policing licence holders. Overhauling the licensing regime will produce a more streamlined system that is easier for the OFT to regulate and more proportionate for business. The OFT will be able to focus attention on problem lenders and problem sectors, and to impose sanctions on traders who misbehave. Consumers sometimes suffer as a result of a lack of information during the life of the loan.