On 26th November 2014, the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, led the debate on two amendments to the Government’s Consumer Rights Bill, during its Report Stage. The amendments,which the bishop spoke to on behalf of the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, sought to improve the regulation of payday loan adverstising in two ways – first, through preventing payday lenders from targeting children with advertising on television and second, through the regulation of unsolicited telephone calls from payday lenders. Amendment 47, related to pre-watershed advertising, was pressed to a vote by members of the House of Lords. No bishop took part in the division, and the vote was not successful. The Government did, however, state that the regulator, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) had agreed to broaden the remit of its review into the content of payday loan advertising to consider scheduling rules. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham leads call for improved regulation of payday loan advertising”
On 24th November 2014, three bishops took part in a division of the House of Lords, during Report Stage of the Government’s Consumer Rights Bill.
Labour Peer Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town moved amendment 31, which sought to remove the requirement for trading standards officers to give 48 hours notice before inspecting businesses, as the Bill currently requires.
The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern and the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smtih, voted ‘content’. No bishop voted ‘not content’.
There were Contents: 194 | Not Contents: 220 | Result: Government Win
On 19th November 2014, four bishops took part in two divisions of the House of Lords, during the Report Stage of the Government’s Consumer Rights Bill.
Shadow Business Spokesperson, Labour peer Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, moved amendment 1, to insert the new clause Consumer credit: bill of sale. The amendment sought to develop a new regulatory framework related to bills of sale as a form of consumer credit.
The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, the Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, and the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, all voted ‘not content’ with the amendment. No bishop voted ‘content’.
There were Contents: 176 | Not Contents: 244 | Result: Government Win
On 5th November 2014, the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, sponsored an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill, during its Committee Stage. The amendment sought to place a duty on the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to make regulations to prevent the sale of high-cost short-term credit through unsolicited marketing calls. Following assurances from the Minister, the Bishop withdrew his amendment.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, Amendment 105C is in my name and those of the noble Lord, Lord Mitchell, and the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell. I declare an interest: I am chair of the trustees of the Children’s Society, which has co-ordinated this amendment as part of its campaign—of which I am very proud—on the impact of debt on children and families. We produced a report entitled The Debt Trap earlier this year.
In September this year, the Children’s Society launched another report, entitled Playday not Payday, which looked at the effects of the advertising of payday loans on children, and in particular at the telemarketing of payday loans. The report identified a gap in the regulations which allows payday loan companies to use unsolicited marketing calls to offer people payday loans through phone calls and texts. For mortgage products, this type of unsolicited marketing is completely banned by the Mortgage Conduct of Business rules. The Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates payday lenders, said: Continue reading “Bishop of Truro leads call for stronger regulation on telephone sales of high-cost short-term credit”
On 5th November 2014, the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, spoke during the Committee Stage of the Consumer Rights Bill, in support of Baroness Howe of Idilcote’s amendment which would require internet service providers and mobile phone operators to provide default adult content filtering. Following the debate, Baroness Howe withdrew her amendment, but suggested that she would re-table it at Report Stage.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I support the amendment and am grateful to the noble Baroness for providing a comprehensive and excellent introduction to it. I do not want to repeat the important points that have already been made; I simply want to underline one particularly important point.
These days, we all have a responsibility to take child protection and safeguarding very seriously. Your Lordships may or may not be aware that you cannot be made a bishop in the Church of England unless you have had statutory safeguarding training. The most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury has made that very clear in all that he has said and done, and that seems absolutely right and proper. Continue reading “Bishop of Truro supports child protection amendments to Consumer Rights Bill”
“These loans are not being taken seriously by young people, serious though they are. We have allowed them to take over our televisions and radios, normalising them to the point where their use is seen as casual. Just this morning I was told the story of a young woman who took out a payday loan to pay for a Domino’s pizza. That could prove to be a very expensive pizza indeed.”- Bishop of Norwich, 3/11/14
On 3rd November 2014, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, took part in the Committee Stage of the Government’s Consumer Rights Bill, speaking in favour of an amendment to regulate the advertising of payday loans to children. The Bishop highlighted the pervasiveness of pre-wateshed advertising of payday loans, and the fact that young parents were far more likely to take out a loan than older parents. He also called for greater investment in financial education.
The amendment, which was co-sponsored by the Bishop of Truro, was withdrawn at the end of the debate, with its supporters calling for the Government to take further action before the Bill returned for its Report Stage.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, I rise to support the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and to speak to Amendment 105B, in the name of my colleague the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Truro, on the advertising of payday loans. He cannot be here today but has been working very closely with the Children’s Society on this issue. Amendment 105B seeks to make provisions to restrict the times at which payday loan advertisements are shown, most specifically in relation to the watershed.
It surprised me to discover that, according to Ofcom, no less than 80% of all payday loan advertisements are shown before the watershed. It is therefore no surprise—to pick up on some of the statistics that the noble Lord, Lord Alton, mentioned—that the Children’s Society found in its survey that over half of all children aged 10 to 17 reckon that they see payday loan advertisements either “often” or “all the time”. It is the sheer quantity of these advertisements that normalises payday loans for children and young people. The research shows that one-third of all teenagers think that the payday loan adverts themselves are tempting and exciting—they are very well designed. Those teenagers are much more likely than their counterparts to say that they would consider taking out a payday loan in the future. Continue reading “Bishop of Norwich supports ban on pre-watershed payday loan advertising”