Part of Consumer Credit Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:25 am on 27 January 2005.

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Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Trade and Industry) (Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs) 9:25, 27 January 2005

The hon. Gentleman's question has been taken in the context of the comments about the roles and duties of the OFT to operate fairly and to give reasons why it has chosen a particular route. The words ''former associate'' give the OFT maximum flexibility as regards the powers to impose requirements for the licensee to improve the way that they operate.

One example is a second-hand car dealer being refused a licence. If his son then applied for a licence, the OFT might wish to impose a requirement restricting the father's involvement in the provision   of credit in his son's business. The power does not mean that the OFT can interfere with the business of an associate of a licensee; a requirement must relate to the licensed business. The OFT will publish guidance on how it will use those powers, and I understand that explanatory notes on that guidance have been given to Committee members.

The requirements can be referred to the appeals tribunal, which provides a sufficient safeguard against the OFT exercising those powers unreasonably. The safeguards are in place for instances where the OFT exceeds its powers. The amendment will not deliver what the hon. Gentleman wants and will actually weaken the consumer's position, which is not what he is trying to achieve. Safeguards are in place, and we ought to maximise them.