asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will include controls on consumer credit in the proposed savings gateway Bill announced in their draft legislative programme for 2008-09; and [HL3873]
What plans they have to include controls on excessive lending to vulnerable customers in the proposed banking reform Bill, announced in their draft legislative programme for 2008-09; and [HL3874]
What representations they have recently received about the control of credit and bank loans being managed by instruments other than interest rates. [HL3876]
There are no plans to include controls on lending to customers in the proposed banking reform or saving gateway Bills.
In 2004 the Government put in place Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulation of mortgages. The FSA's regime offers appropriate consumer protection—for example, by requiring that firms satisfy themselves that a mortgage commitment is affordable. The OFT regulates other consumer credit business. Regulation of consumer credit is being further strengthened with the implementation of the Consumer Credit Act 2006, due to be completed by October 2008. This Act has, among other measures, strengthened the OFT's ability to investigate and take action against firms which lend irresponsibly. The OFT will bring forward guidance on irresponsible lending later this year.
The Government maintain a regular dialogue with the financial services industry and other interested parties with the aim of promoting responsible lending practices. For example, BERR has established an expert working group to examine proposals to enable lenders to share more data on historic credit accounts, with the aim of preventing at-risk consumers becoming overindebted.