Orders of the Day — Consumer Credit Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:43 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) 5:43 pm, 9th June 2005

The House will have the opportunity to consider the Bill in Committee—I am sure that the Whips will be happy about the competition for places on the Committee. I hope that we will be able to negotiate with the House authorities so that we can get the Bill through its Commons stages as soon as possible and it will go to the other place in the autumn. We will try to get its implementation worked through as soon as it receives Royal Assent. However, as hon. Members have said, the implementation requires a balance between fair regulation and working with the industry to ensure that information technology systems and other matters are addressed, and ensuring that consumers are protected.

It is clear that there is some disagreement about the unfair credit test, so I am sure that we will have a detailed debate in Committee about why we prefer to take a broader viewpoint on what the test should be. Mr. Robertson has raised the role of the Office of Fair Trading with me on many occasions in the context not only of horse racing, but of the principles of the Bill. Following the Competition Act 1998 and the Enterprise Act 2002, the Government were asked to move away from being involved in the detail of competition issues so that the market could be allowed to determine matters, so it is ironic that we are now being asked to ensure that we curb the OFT's powers. A balance must be struck. The OFT reports each year to the Department and the Secretary of State. The powers that we are giving it on licensing are vital because it is important that those who lend money are the appropriate people to do so.