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Social Security (Payments on Account of Benefit) Regulations 2013 — Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:30 pm on 13th February 2013.

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Photo of Baroness Hollis of Heigham Baroness Hollis of Heigham Labour 10:30 pm, 13th February 2013

I am now completely baffled by the approach that the department is taking. On the one hand, the money-lending teams, which are obviously doing well, are seeking to exterminate illegal loan sharks and so on, but they exist because there is a demand for cheap credit, otherwise they would not be in business at all. We obviously respect what the Minister is trying to do with credit unions, which are an appropriate alternative-if, of course, you have first saved-but given that he has now agreed that the maximum figure for single people is £348, £464 for couples and £812 for families with children, why not use those figures as the maximum cap that people can borrow against for their payments on account, rather than be confined to one loan? Thereby, if you have taken out £70 or £120, you cannot take any more until you have paid that back. If you are going to have those caps, regard them as the caps against which money can be borrowed on several occasions and you will therefore teach people how to manage credit as well as income. I suggest that that would be much more appropriate, given the Minister's other objectives, which we entirely share.