Orders of the Day — Consumer Credit Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:53 pm on 9th June 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Shadow Minister (Northern Ireland) 1:53 pm, 9th June 2005

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way and apologise to the Minister for missing his speech, although I served in Committee on the previous Bill, so I have probably heard most of his arguments.

I do not usually try to help Liberal Democrat spokesmen, but I will do so on this occasion because we should not go down the road of capping interest rates. The Bill does not state what constitutes "unfairness". In section 138(2)(a) of the 1974 Act, one of the things that constituted "extortionate" was a comparison of interest rates prevailing at the time that an agreement is made. We are withdrawing the specification and qualification of what "extortionate" means and are leaping towards "unfairness", which is probably a better test, but the fact that we are not defining "unfairness" is the kernel of the argument. The answer is not capping interest rates, but detailing what "unfairness" means.