§ Mr. Hoyle
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the highest(a) store card interest 1278W gives annual figures for the number of individual Bankruptcies and Company Compulsory Liquidations dealt with by the Official Receivers Office in London and combined for the offices of Cardiff and Swansea.
rate and (b) bank credit card rate in the UK are; and if she will make a statement on the effect on consumers of the rates charged. 
§ Mr. Sutcliffe
[holding answer 5 March 2004]: The Department does not collect data on the interest rates charged by lenders.
The credit market is a competitive market. It is, however, clearly important that charges for credit should be clear and that consumers understand how much they will have to pay for borrowing. The Office of Fair Trading is currently undertaking a study into the store card market, which is expected to be completed shortly. Our proposals for reform of consumer credit legislation, published in the White Paper "Fair, Clear and Competitive: the Consumer Credit Market in the 21st Century", will among other things ensure that all consumer credit advertising, including the advertising of credit cards, is clear, fair and not misleading and that APRs are advertised on a consistent basis.
The consultation period closes on 15 March 2004 and I anticipate that the new regulations should come into force on 31 October 2004.