Early plea for ministers to tackle reckless lending

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Citizens Advice, the central body that represents Citizens Advice Bureaux throughout Britain, is calling for a reform of "outdated" consumer credit laws and wants to see the issue included in the Queen's Speech to open Parliament next month.

Citizens Advice, the central body that represents Citizens Advice Bureaux throughout Britain, is calling for a reform of "outdated" consumer credit laws and wants to see the issue included in the Queen's Speech to open Parliament next month.

The plea comes as Citizens Advice reveals in its annual report that it is being swamped by people walking into its branches to have debt problems sorted out. The number of such cases has jumped from 405,800 in 1996-7 to 706,700 last year, an increase of 74 per cent.

David Harker, the chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "We have been warning for a number of years that the problem of personal debt is reaching crisis levels, and the fact that the number of consumer debt problems brought to us has risen significantly yet again underlines this warning.

"The Government unveiled a new strategy for dealing with record levels of personal debt earlier this year, including tackling irresponsible lending and borrowing and a lack of access to affordable credit. This is welcome. But reform of Britain's outdated consumer credit laws must be included in the Queen's Speech. The credit boom of recent years has brought advantages to many of us, but it is clear that others have found it harder to control their borrowing and have ended up in debt."

The bureaux dealt with nearly 1.1m debt-related issues last year, including housing, utilities and benefits-related debts. But consumer debt - which includes credit cards, store-financed purchases, car loans and personal loans - is by far the biggest problem for which people seek help and it accounted for two-thirds of all debt-related issues seen by bureaux.

Research by Citizens Advice shows that up to 6.5 million adults in England and Wales had life problems that went unresolved last year because they were not helped. The number of new problems dealt with by bureauxwas 5.6m.

Looking for credit card or current account deals? Search here

Comments