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Oversight Committee

Part of Financial Services Bill (Money) (No. 2) – in the House of Commons at 8:15 pm on 10th December 2012.

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Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 8:15 pm, 10th December 2012

My hon. Friend is right. I pay tribute to the work that she has done in this regard, and also in regard to debt management plans.

Bad practice is widespread in this industry. The Financial Conduct Authority will have an opportunity to set the tone when it comes to the sort of consumer credit industry that we want in the future, but let us use the opportunity presented by the OFT to do something about the problems now, and to prevent 2013 from being boom time for the legal loan sharks.

The Minister must be aware that three quarters of consumers are looking towards Christmas with severe financial concerns, and that 10 million of us in Britain feel financially squeezed. Will he state explicitly whether he will support my proposals and take them to the OFT, so that we can be certain that 2013 will be a time for legal loan sharks rather than consumers to be worried? I urge him to read the Bristol research findings—which are already in the pocket of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills—in order to understand how measures such as this, and total cost-capping, can work, so that we can finally say that Britain is a legal loan shark-free zone.