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Creditors Contacting Customers in Debt: FCA

Volume 742: debated on Tuesday 19 December 2023

10. What recent discussions he has had with the Financial Conduct Authority on how creditors contact customers in debt. (900742)

I was pleased to speak at the launch of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s report on this subject last week, alongside the FCA. It is worth saying that I used to be on the advisory board of that institute. The Government and the FCA will continue to work closely to ensure that consumer protections are fit for purpose, including through our upcoming reform of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

A constituent who was a victim of domestic abuse and whose ex-husband fraudulently took out a loan in her name was constantly harassed by creditors as she tried to clear the debt, and, according to a recent report by the organisation that the Minister mentioned, that is an experience shared by others. Will Ministers discuss with the FCA imposing legal limits on arrears communications in cases such as this, as other countries have done?

Let me say two things. First, I pay tribute to the former Financial Secretary, now the Health Secretary—my right hon. Friend the Member for Louth and Horncastle (Victoria Atkins)—who did a great deal of work in relation to economic abuse. I am committed to continuing that work with the Treasury to ensure that we limit the circumstances in which the incidents described by the hon. Lady can occur. As for the broader question of what the regulator does in such cases, we have put a record level of funding, to the tune of some £93 million, into working with regulators on debt advice. I shall be happy to discuss with the hon. Lady the details of how we can help her constituents in the way that she suggested.