Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Responsible Lending: Proposals for Action

Debt Campaigners Declare October 23rd ‘Responsible Lending Day’ and call on Government to raise its game to tackle UK Debt Crisis.

Debt on our Doorstep, the campaign for fair and responsible financial services, has declared October 23rd to be the UK’s ‘Responsible Lending Day’ and called on Government to raise its game to tackle irresponsible lending and Britain’s growing debt problem.

The day will see the Westminster launch of Debt on our Doorstep’s 17 page report into debt in the UK which sets out proposals for action in 8 areas including calls for:

Banks to disclose how they serve low income communities and meet the need for affordable credit

Regulation of the credit card industry to be tightened to ensure they take proper account of a borrower’s ability to repay and for a ban on unsolicited increases in credit limits and credit card cheques

Longer term funding for projects to tackle illegal money lending and for the introduction of a criminal offence of usury.

Lenders to also advertise APRs of agreements with payment protection insurance included so that borrowers can see the true cost involved

Calling on Government to draw up a properly resourced national strategy for debt advice provision

Launching the report, Damon Gibbons, Chair of Debt on our Doorstep, commented:

“The Government has so far underplayed the role of irresponsible lending in causing debt, and continues to allow the industry to target high cost credit at people on low incomes as a means of increasing profit.

We are now seeking some fundamental changes to the UK’s credit society – asking banks and mainstream lenders to prove that they are engaging with low income communities and can offer them the products they need. If the Government is willing to pump money into the financial services sector to offset the impact of the ‘credit crunch’ then it must start to seek better services for people in return.”

The launch takes place at 5pm in Committee Room 5 of the main building of the Houses of Parliament with the following speakers:

Prof Iain Ramsay, University of Kent Law School (Chair)
Damon Gibbons, Debt on our Doorstep
Mark Lazarowicz MP (Lab) & Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Debt
Ed Vaizey MP (Conservative)
Adam Price MP (Plaid Cymru)
Danny Alexander MP (Lib Dem)
Anne Pettifor, Advocacy International and author of 'The Coming First World Debt Crisis'

The first Responsible Lending Day also features a British Bankers Association conference in London on these issues, but which is taking place at a cost of £400 per head and has minimal involvement from consumer groups.

A full copy of the proposals for action are available from:

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