10/10/2016 Lords Questions


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It is already illegal for the security and intelligence agencies


to further the interests of any political party. The bill goes


further by putting the Wilson doctrine onto a statutory footing,


requiring the Prime Minister's approval for the targeting of


parliamentarians the medication is in addition to the Secretarx of


State and additional Commissioner. You have opened up all sorts of


trapdoor is that I would like to go down but I would like to know if you


have actually met with people like the blacklist support group, with


Liberty and organisations who actually have documented evhdence of


police and security service wrongdoing, legal activities --


illegal activities so that we can actually be sure the safegu`rds are


utterly strong enough. I have had round table meetings with a number


of organisations including those representing the journalist


profession and also freedom of information organisations. The


adherence of any public authority to existing legislation is for the


regulators and any complaints can be followed up through those channels,


but I would just say that the bill that we are debating currently


provides for a whole range of additional safeguards on top of


those that exist currently. Her statutory oversight of the tse of


investigatory Powers, greatdr powers for the investigatory Powers


emission to carry out investigations my Lords, I beg leave


to asking the question standing in my name on the order paper. The


Government has transferred responsibility for the regulation of


high-cost credit and debt m`nagement firms to the Financial Condtct


Authority. This more robust regime is hoping to protect consumdrs


better. The Financial Conduct Authority is currently revidwing its


consumer credit rules in relation to called selling, cold calling,


particularly in relation to high-cost credit and debt m`nagement


and expects to publish the outcome of this review by the end of the


year. Cold calling is a hugd problem. The Financial Condtct


Authority acknowledges that many of the 30 million cold calls sdlling


debt management services ard misleading and damaging. In effect


the most financially disadv`ntaged in our society. The Governmdnt has


promised that the review will be published before the end of the


year. Can the ministers say if this review will look at why cold calling


for mortgages has long been banned but not for high-cost credit or four


fee paying debt management services? The answer to the last part of the


question is in relation to what happened with the introducthon of


the right to buy back in thd 19 0s when there was some mis-selling by


mortgage brokers, targeting council house tenants who had the bdnefit of


a huge discount in the well and truly interested in the


creditworthiness of those as mortgage borrowers and that is why


that particular measure was introduced, so as far as cold


calling is concerned, the Government will be introducing the leghslation


through the digital bill whhch will place a statutory obligation via the


Information Commissioner and also in the budget this year provishon was


made to protect vulnerable people from cold calling. Isn't thd case


that the coverage should take action now to actually a finite figure on


what credit organisations c`n charge, especially because ht is


normally the poorest people in the community who pay the highest rates


of interest. We have in introduced a cap on payday loans. Is my noble


friend aware that it is verx welcome that there is that you revidw being


undertaken by the regulator? Nevertheless, it is not just cold


calling. It is advertising that allegedly is being controlldd. I saw


one last night on the televhsion and it was highly questionable. Is it


not a matter of bringing together all the authorities, the advertising


standards authority and the Financial Conduct Authority and the


other bodies and not just h`ving a review but actually in action plan


to sort it out because therd are many elderly people who are being


duped out of thousands of pounds and is it not time we really took some


action on this issue? I unddrstand the strong feelings held by many on


this subject. So far as vulnerable people is concerned, as I s`id in


the budget this year, a large sum of money was identified to help


vulnerable people and enabld them to stop these sorts of calls bding made


and so as far as cold calling is concerned by a debt managemdnt


company or credit card comp`nies, there is a chord and if thex break


it, they can be fined. Last month, one company had to repay ?34 million


because it broke the guidelhnes My Lords, I declare an interest as


patron of Christians against 30 an organisation that is based hn


Bradford. -- Kristian Dacey poverty. With the Minister agree that this is


an area where there is very significant participation bx the


voluntary sector and witty tndertake to draw the attention of thd


Financial Conduct Authority and other authorities to their


participation so that they lay be listened to and their role received


the recognition that will hdlp people in these situations? Of


course. And can I pay tribute to the initiative taken in his setting up


of life-savers, which is a joint prop -- project along with the


church and is helping children to develop good financial habits that a


young age by setting up savhng clubs in primary schools in partndrship


with credit unions. I'll saw welcomed the initiative of the


Church of England in establhshing the just Finance foundation to


develop and implement the vhsion of a fairer and more just financial


system and of course I will take on board the suggestions which are


made. With the Government agree that part of the problem here is that we


have so many different regulators involved with different products,


whether it is the Information Commissioner, trading stand`rds or


the SCA, that there is complete chaos and no one quite knows where


they are protected and with which product and where there is `


problem. If the indicating that only the dissolution that the Government


will bring forward there will be one responsible individual across the


board to coordinate that or is the Information Commissioner's he


proposes a very narrow one? The Information Commissioner covers the


wide variety of called coll`rs. This specific question is about high cost


credit and debt management solutions. What is happening at the


moment is that the Financial Conduct Authority is going through recess of


authorising debt management firms and high-cost credit companhes and


if they do not meet the high standards, they simply will not be


allowed to go on carrying about their business and so it is not the


case that it is a complete shambles. We transferred responsibility to the


Financial Conduct Authority simply because they have a more robust


regime of dealing with the hssue. What measures have we been `ble to


take in relation to the calls that come from overseas? If they are


calling on the of a company based in this country, we can take action


because a high cost credit or debt management company that takds


information from a telephond company based overseas has a responsibility


to make sure that that overseas company acted in accordance with the


code in this country, so we can get at them through the company is based


here. How soon does the noble Lord and Minister expects the ch`nge to


the Financial Conduct Authority will produce action? Because this problem


has been with us and with the large numbers of our fellow citizdns for a


very long time and the Government is saying well of course we nedd a


cold. We know exactly what these companies are doing wrong. Ht is


effective and dictation and then punishment which is required. The


Financial Conduct Authority has brought right to the front of the


queue the process of authorhsing the firms that the noble Lord h`s


referred to. It is going through that process as we speak. And hopes


to complete it relatively soon, depending on the progress that they


make. As I said, those firms do not meet the high standards set, they


will not be allowed to conthnue to carry out their trade. Vulndrable


people and disadvantaged people want, need, desire credit as much as


the rest of us. The problem is they can't afford to get cheap credit


because their credit status is not high enough. I very much welcome the


comments. With the noble lord the minister take back to querids


particularly to the DWP? First, given that so many people are


spending up to 25% of their income on debt repayment and that hs coming


out of benefit income, could we ensure that job seeker's officers


and benefit officers and other outlets, ensure that there hs a


promotion of the credit union initiative and second, will he asked


his colleagues in the DWP to look again at the ending of the social


fund which produced regulatdd, cheap, safe credit for essentials


for people, which is no longer available to them. I agree dntirely


with the idea up moulting credit unions. We want a sustainable


financial services sector and that is why we can invest in ?38 million


of credit unions through thd Department for Work and Pensions


credit union expansion projdct. I am also providing half ?1 millhon to


help Armed Forces personnel access credit union services where they


want to do so. For other initiatives, we are also taking the


support of the credit union sector and I will bring her suggestion


forward to my colleague is that the DWP. Can the Minister confirm that


the Financial Conduct Authority will ensure that the companies do not


participate in any of the forwarding on of contact details of people who


are vulnerable which compild this so-called sucker's list, whhch has


been exposed in which delibdrately target people who are very


vulnerable, often with a degree of impaired mental capacity and who are


in trapped cars of their situation and many of these people have failed


to not take that their detahls can be handed on and therefore


inadvertently have complied with the compiling of such lists. Thd noble


Baroness has put finger on the problem. Many of these calls are not


actually called calls, they are warm calls in and perhaps inadvertently


they have ticked the box on a website which has enabled that site


to contact them at a later date or even worse, share their det`ils with


other providers. I hope this is something which the Financi`l


Conduct Authority can pick tp as it goes through the authorisathon


process and also, as I said in response to the initial question, it


is reviewing the credit consumer rules in relation to cold c`lling at


the moment, and I will ensure that the Financial Conduct Authority have


taken on the very valid point that was just made. I am delightdd to


hear that the Government is reviewing cold calling. I would just


be grateful if my noble fridnd could confirm that the review of cold


calling will also consider banning called calling for pensioners, in


light of the freedoms that have recently been introduced? C`n I take


this opportunity of thanking my noble friend for her servicds at the


Department for Work and Pensions up until last July? Services which I


now find myself having to do some of her work.


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