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Thursday, November 16, 2006

UK Government Must Knock Heads Together

The Parliamentary Treasury Committee inquiry into banking services for the poor has noted that the UK government needs to clamp down on illegal money lending, raise competition in home credit markets and improve access to financial advice for millions of poorer people.

John McFall MP, who headed the inquiry, said:

"Many of the financial services that most people take for granted are either not available to many of the most vulnerable in our society or are only available at a premium."

The committee noted that financial advice was not widely available, and that 8 million people earning between £10K and £22K found it difficult to get advice that wasn't linked to commissions and the sales process.

Mr McFall recommended that the Treasury should take the lead in brokering an agreement with the Financial Services Authority and the financial industry, to organise a framework for a national financial advice network.

The committee also stated that it expected the government to take a tougher line against illegal lenders.

McFall said it was for the government to "knock heads together" to ensure that there is progress among lenders in sharing data.

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