HC Deb 25 November 1987 vol 123 cc257-8
15. Mr. Fatchett

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he next intends to meet the National Consumer Council.

Mr. Maude

I shall be meeting the National Consumer Council on 1March 1988.

Mr. Fatchett

Perhaps the Minister could bring that date forward and take the opportunity to discuss with the NCC its recent report on security risks and personal loans, which illustrates one of the worst characteristics of the so-called enterprise culture. Is the Minister aware that that report showed the use of deliberately deceitful advertising on loans and high brokerage charges? It also showed that many people, often in extremely difficult financial circumstances, were putting their own homes at risk because of the nature of this loan business. Is it not about time that the Government acted against those sharks?

Mr. Maude

We are already consulting on proposals to change advertisement regulations and will be issuing revised regulations soon after further consultations. Those regulations will require credit-granters to make it clear in the advertisements that if a secured loan is being offered the borrower's home is placed at risk. It is right that that. should be done. However, that does not remove the burden that must lie with anyone seeking credit to look carefully at the terms of the loan that he is seeking and to shop around to get the best possible deal.

Mr. Gow

What injury would be done to the progress of mankind if the National Consumer Council were to be abolished?

Mr. Maude

My hon. Friend has asked a fascinating hypothetical question to which I will not venture an answer at this stage.