§ Mr. French
To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what is his assessment of the potential effect of the Office of Fair 'Trading's recommendations on the Consumer Credit Act 1974 on lenders who charge extortionate rates of interest;
(2) what is his estimate of the number of people who have encountered financial difficulties through their dealings with lenders charging extortionate rates of interest; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
I have made no estimate of the number of people encountering financial difficulties as a consequence of such dealings. In his report "Unjust Credit Transactions", the Director General of Fair Trading said that his recommendations were intended to deter socially harmful lending more strongly and to improve the ability of borrowers who are its victims to gain redress.