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Debt Management Schemes

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the self regulation of debt management schemes in protecting those who are in financial difficulties; (299144)

(2) what assessment he has made of the likely effect of statutory regulation on debt management schemes as proposed in Option 3 of his Department’s consultation published on 18 September 2009.

The current economic downturn is causing real hardship for many hardworking consumers and the Government are determined to do all they can to help those in financial difficulties, while balancing this against creditors’ rights to recover their debts wherever possible, both now and in the future.

The consultation paper “Debt Management Schemes—delivering effective and balanced solutions for debtors and creditors” was published on 18 September 2009 and looks at the current operation of the debt management market. It seeks views on whether any changes are needed in this area and, if so, what those changes should be.

It sets out three broad options: continue with the measures currently under way to raise awareness about current schemes and enforce existing rules with operators (Option 1); improve current schemes without regulation, possibly through the introduction of a protocol (Option 2); or implement the Lord Chancellor’s powers to approve debt management schemes contained in Chapter 4 of Part 5 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (Option 3).

An initial impact assessment was published alongside the consultation paper which considered the potential effectiveness of all of the options contained in the consultation paper.

The consultation paper and initial impact assessment can be accessed via the Ministry of Justice website at: