Citizens Advice Scotland have welcomed the Financial Services Bill’s proposal that consumer credit will in future be regulated by the FCA (Financial Credit Authority). But they have also said the agency must have full powers to tackle wrongdoing in the lending industry.
CAS Head of Policy Susan McPhee says:
“Debt remains one of the biggest problems brought to the CAB in Scotland. 26% of all cases we saw last year were debt cases. That’s 400 for every day of the year. And our clients’ average debt is now over £20,000.
“That sort of debt destroys lives, and many of the people we see have fallen victim to a credit system that has been poorly regulated. So we welcome any moves to strengthen that system, and the shifting of regulation to the FCA is certainly a step in that direction.
“What is vital now is that the FCA has real teeth. Their role should not just be to identify wrongdoing in the lending industry, but to confront it and put a stop to it. The government must make sure the FCA has the powers to do that, and to protect the interests of consumers.
“We will be keen to work with the government on how to put those systems in place. Meanwhile anyone who is struggling with debt right now can get free, independent and confidential help from the local CAB.”
For more information please contact Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010.