My Lords, it is a great pleasure to participate in this Bill. I strongly support Amendment 27. In view of the passionate speeches by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans and the noble Lord, Lord Foster, my contribution will be relatively short, as they have said almost everything that I wanted to say.
In this technological age, it cannot be very difficult for any provider of bank accounts, credit cards, debit cards, store cards and other electronic payment systems to offer customers an opportunity to block payments to certain providers of services. As has already been said, the blockers actually increase consumer choice. The blockers would be of enormous help, as has been said, to those addicted to gambling or other ruinous addictions—of course, gambling is not the only one. It would certainly help their families too, because it would safeguard the family budget, which then cannot simply disappear by the swipe of a card or the click of a computer key.
I would urge that such blockers should be a necessary condition of the authorisation to trade in financial services in the UK. Other regulators, such as the Gambling Commission, should also insist that anybody who is licensed provides such facilities. The blockers obviously would not prevent people from indulging in gambling and other ruinous addictions. Nevertheless, they would really help vulnerable people in our society and I completely support this amendment.