Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies and Credit Unions Bill [ Lords]

Part of Prayers – in the House of Commons at 1:34 pm on 12th March 2010.

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Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health) 1:34 pm, 12th March 2010

Let me confirm the Liberal Democrats' absolute support for the Bill and congratulate Malcolm Wicks. We are committed to championing the role of mutuals, and we see great potential for extending their role as we seek to transform our economy. In particular, I am a passionate supporter of the role of employee-owned businesses and mutuals; indeed, I see a considerably greater role for them in the delivery of all sorts of public services, including in the health service. I have also seen credit unions developing in my area, offering people who are often on low incomes a vital alternative facility to that offered by doorstep lenders who charge high interest rates. We need to do everything that we can to encourage and promote credit unions.

The Bill, which is rather dull but necessary, modernises the regulatory framework- [ Interruption. ] Well, if hon. Members get excited by these things, they need to get a life. The Bill also provides added consumer protection and aligns the rules relating to company directors with those of companies, as Mr. Hoban rightly said. It is essential to have a modern regulatory framework to ensure that the mutuals can flourish in the future. We are therefore very happy to support the Bill.