It is a pleasure to follow Mr Bain. He made an interesting point, especially when he talked about some payday loan companies charging up to 5,000% interest, for which there is simply no justification. However leafy our constituencies might be—mine is quite a leafy one—there are pockets of deprivation in them and people who really need credit, but they need it at a competitive rate.
I would like to go back to the basics. For three or four years, we have had a 0.5% base rate, and the Governor of the Bank of England is hopeful that that may well stay at that level for another three years. How can anybody, legally or illegally, offer loans at 5,000% or 6,000% interest? That has got to be wrong. The old adage that we can have an umbrella if the sun is shining but that it will be taken away from us if it starts to rain is, as far as finance is concerned, correct.
I feel hugely passionate about this issue. I welcome the comments of the Second Church Estates Commissioner, my hon. Friend Sir Tony Baldry about the involvement of the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury. One thing that the Church of England certainly has got is a great deal of assets. If people have assets, they can borrow money at a very competitive rate. I would say in all honesty to the Church of England that there is a real role for it in credit unions and community banks because they can borrow money at an effective rate, and if they lend it out at a much more competitive rate, that will help people in need.
Many Members, certainly including my hon. Friend Justin Tomlinson, have spoken about the need for a levy on the industry, and I agree that we need such a levy so that people can have proper financial advice, as they often go from company to company and shop to shop, being charged enormous amounts as they do.