§ Tony Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will introduce a maximum interest rate on personal loans; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Sutcliffe
We have recently consulted on making the extortionate credit provisions within the Consumer Credit Act 1974 more effective. This consultation closed on 6 June 2003, and the responses are currently being analysed. Statutory interest rate controls are just one approach to tackling the burden of extortionate credit agreements on more vulnerable members of society and I remain to be convinced that they would be effective. I will, however, be commissioning research on how interest rate caps operate in other countries.