Campaigns. It is important that I continue to know the strength of feeling on an issue and I prefer to respond to every inquiry, but the sheer size of campaign correspondence means that it is hard to justify to the tax payer the cost and time taken for individual written replies, so regrettably I will no longer reply to every item of campaign correspondence.  I will  post a response to the campaign on the "Responses to campaigns" page of my website.

I am sorry to do this, as it is rather impersonal, but can see no other way of maintaining a good service for all my constituents unless I approach campaigns this way.


25 JAN 2018

End Child Poverty

Thank you very much for taking the time to email me about the End Child Poverty campaign.

I understand your concern on this matter and hope the following information on this topic from the Treasury is of interest:

It is very important that financial services work in the best interests of the consumers and businesses they serve. That is why strong powers to protect consumers have been given to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which has responsibility for regulating consumer credit, including the rent-to-own sector. The FCA's rules already set out that firms should assess each customer's creditworthiness and treat their customers fairly.
The FCA's announcement in October 2017 that Brighthouse, a rent-to own firm, will pay over £14.8 million in redress to 249,000 customers in respect of agreements which may not have been affordable demonstrates the effectiveness of FCA regulation in this sector.
The FCA is also undertaking a wide-ranging review of the high-cost credit market, and this explicitly includes addressing concerns about the rent-to-own sector. Ministers have welcomed this ongoing work. A consultation paper on proposed solutions to the issues identified by the FCA is due to be issued in the spring of 2018.
Ultimately, the best way to prevent people from falling into problem debt is to improve access to good quality low-cost credit. That is why the Government is giving support to the credit union sector, which provides an accessible alternative to high-cost credit.
From 2018, a greater proportion of funds recovered from illegal money lenders will be allocated to incentivise vulnerable people to join credit unions instead of turning to high-cost credit. The £38 million Credit Union Expansion Project is aimed at helping the sector modernise and offer new services. The maximum interest rate that credit unions can charge has also been increased from 2 per cent to 3 per cent, to help credit unions become more stable.

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