Bishop of St Albans asks Government to act on credit card limits

On 23rd October 2017 Lord Haskel asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to deal with the concerns of the Money Advice Service and the Financial Conduct Authority about the level of consumer and personal debt in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, a poll commissioned by Citizens Advice in June found that 18% of people with credit cards who had debt problems had had their credit limits increased automatically without them even asking for it, thereby enabling them to take on even greater debt when they were already facing problems. I understand that the FCA is looking into this, but will the Minister ensure that it is asked to bring in much stronger guidelines on this situation to prevent it getting worse?

 Lord BatesI was nodding as the right reverend Prelate made his point about this irresponsible lending—it is very tempting—but of course the Financial Conduct Authority was set up to be an arm’s-length body and to advise Government on what should be done. As he rightly says, the FCA has produced a report, which it is putting out to consultation, and will be announcing some policy changes in this area. Previously, we have seen the introduction of things such as fee-free bank accounts, which are now benefiting 4 million people, and the cap on payday loans—I pay tribute to the most reverend Primate’s role in bringing that about. These are making a practical difference to people and we need action there too.