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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 Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Conservative, East Hampshire 8:15 pm, 10th December 2012

It is an honour to follow Stella Creasy, and to speak in favour of the spirit of Lords amendment 78.

The problems of high-cost sub-prime debt are widely acknowledged. Although they have come much more to the fore through opinion-formers of late because of payday lenders, they are not, of course, new, and by extension—this is somewhat at variance with what the hon. Lady said—it is not new that Government are not capping the cost of problem credit. It worries me slightly that we use the term “payday” as a catch-all shorthand for all these problems, and I hope that the Minister will reassure us that we are not just talking about payday lenders.

Dealing with problems of this kind requires an integrated approach involving financial capability and the provision of alternatives for people who need access to credit, but it also requires regulation. Disclosure is not enough in this market, especially as it often involves very vulnerable consumers and the ready, easy availability of credit. It could be said that supply sometimes creates its own demand. Some people tend not to opt for the solution that best suits their needs, but to opt for the most recent that they have seen. In seeking to address these costs, however, we need to look at costs in the broadest sense. This is not just about interest rate charges.