Clause 9 - Notice of sums in arrears under fixed-sum credit agreements etc.

Part of Consumer Credit Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:15 am on 25th January 2005.

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Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Shadow Minister (Treasury) 11:15 am, 25th January 2005

I am seeking to protect consumers, but also to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy being piled on top of lenders. The companies that deal with small loans often have a far more flexible approach to business, and while debtors with small loans may end up paying a higher interest rate, the fact that there is flexibility within the agreement can change its nature. However, there may not be the same charges, such as those incurred when writing to people as part of the terms of agreements. That is one reason why I shall resist interest rate ceilings, because the interest rate, as the hon. Member for Leeds, West said, is not the entire story.

I accept that the interest rate may be a little bit higher on those loans, but all I am saying is that the period before the big machine goes into action, writing letters to people, should be six weeks rather than four. That is not a revolutionary proposal.