On the 7th September 2015 Lord Sharkey asked the Government ‘what assessment they have made of the thematic review Quality of Debt Management Advice published by the Financial Conduct Authority in June 2015′. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, given that the FCA report discovered that not-for-profit organisations were better at giving impartial debt advice, will the Minister tell us what plans Her Majesty’s Government have to ensure that those organisations have sufficient funding to be able to offer that service to the 8.8 million people in the UK who are in need of debt management advice?
Lord Ashton of Hyde: The Government have increased funding to the management advice service to £47 million —an increase of nearly 23%—this year. We also accept that there is a position for fee-paying debt advice, but it has to be regulated properly and to treat consumers fairly. That is what the FCA is in the process of doing. The authorisation process will make some decisions on those individual firms by the end of this year. I should mention that the FCA’s thematic review took a sample of eight firms out of approximately 200.