Austin Mitchell – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the HM Treasury

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Austin Mitchell on 2014-04-07.

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to make personal debt charged at an APR of over 30 per cent unrecoverable; and if he will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom

The Government legislated in the Banking Reform Act 2013 to require the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to introduce a cap on the cost of high-cost short-term credit, including payday loans, in order to protect consumers from excessive costs. In designing the cap, the FCA will take into account the interest rate and other fees and charges which may be incurred in relation to a high-cost loan.

As part of the FCA’s powers to cap the cost of credit in the Financial Services Act 2012, the Government gave the FCA specific powers to prevent a lender enforcing a credit agreement and recovering the debt, if the agreement contravenes its rules on the cost of credit. It can also require that any money or property transferred under the credit agreement must be returned.

The FCA is currently conducting analysis to inform the design of the cap; it has committed to publishing its proposed rules which implement the cap in July. The FCA plans to publish final rules in the autumn and all lenders must be compliant with the cap by 2 January 2015. The Government supports the FCA’s proposed timetable for implementing the cap: it allows the FCA appropriate time to conduct analysis, consult on its proposals and ensure that firms are fully compliant by January. It also allows the FCA to draw on the insight of the Competition and Markets Authority’s study into payday lenders in designing the cap.