HC Deb 29 November 1955 vol 546 cc2114-5
41. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce legislation to prohibit charges being made by Scottish banks to hire-purchase customers for services rendered as agents of hire-purchase finance companies.

Mr. R. A. Butler

No, Sir.

Mr. Thomson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that people in poor circumstances who are paying a few shillings a week are having the payments raised by more than 25 per cent. in some instances, and that this is being done without their agreement or consent? Does he realise that the finance companies are not at all willing to adopt alternative forms of payment? Why on earth should not the banks make a normal charge to the finance companies in the same way as they do to local authorities or to gas companies when they act as their collecting agents?

Mr. Butler

I am aware of the difficulty. The banks seem to charge 1s. a time. This is really a matter between the hire-purchase companies and their customers. In England, the difficulty does not arise because the hire-purchase finance companies are themselves customers of their English banks. A similar practice to that to which the hon. Member refers is, however, adopted in Ireland.

Mr. Woodburn

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether this practice, which has occurred since he introduced his hire-purchase restriction policy, has any relation to that policy; and is it at his instigation that this further handicap has seen put upon hire purchase?

Mr. Butler

I am responsible for a great deal, but I really do not think that I have very much personal responsibility for this.