I will keep my remarks short, because I know it is late and we have a lot of work to do.
There are many amendments to welcome from the other House, particularly the regulation of “buy now, pay later” by the Financial Conduct Authority, where there is clear risk of consumer harm. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 is a remarkably ineffective piece of legislation but it is right that it is extended to e-money, as there is a clear loophole there. On cashback without purchase, there is no risk of consumer detriment there and we need to increase access to cash. It is right that it is brought outside the FCA’s remit.
On Lords amendment 1 and the duty of care, I spent five years of my life trying to get the banking industry to improve the care given to vulnerable customers, and clearly many consumer harms carry on. I launched schemes, actually in this House, for the banking industry to help customers with cancer and customers with Alzheimer’s. I am very attracted to the idea of some sort of blanket duty of care, but I do not support this amendment, for two reasons. The first is that, as written, it is so wide-ranging that there would clearly be massive unintended consequences, which even vulnerable customers would live to regret. The second is that, as the Minister said, the FCA already has very wide-ranging powers, almost certainly enough to deal with all the consumer harms that need to be dealt with. I very much welcome the Government’s move, through their amendment, to push the FCA to look at how to reduce consumer harm and implement an effective duty of care.
On Lords amendment 8, mortgage prisoners absolutely need help. They have suffered massively, through no fault of their own, losing tens of thousands of pounds, if not more. We have rehearsed all the arguments tonight for and against this measure. We agree that we need to help these people, but the question is: how do we do that? The cap of interest rates is, as people say, a sticking plaster—even its supporters say that. I can see the appeal of it, but this sticking plaster comes at great cost: Parliament would be setting out interest rates in primary legislation. That could lead to huge unintended consequences in lots of ways—for example, through the impact on financial stability that we heard about earlier on some of the firms. It would also set an extraordinary precedent, with the Government doing price controls in that way. One does not have to be an historian of the 1970s to know of all the dangers of price controls.
It is also really not the solution we need. Where someone is trapped in a horrible prison with their guards abusing them and they are very uncomfortable, would they want that prison to be made more comfortable and the guards to behave themselves, as this cap in effect proposes, or would they want to get out of the prison? They would want to get out of the prison. We need to make sure that mortgage prisoners can move to other mortgage providers. That should apply to all people who are mortgage prisoners, including those who are in arrears, for the reasons that my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Kevin Hollinrake) set out. This is very complicated stuff. There are lots of reasons why people cannot move, whether it is their loan-to-value ratio or their income stream, or because they are in arrears. It is absolutely right that they should be helped to go to regular mainstream mortgage lenders that are offering other suppliers, and I very much welcome the Government move to really push on that, working with the FCA. I take on trust their commitment to really push in that direction and get a solution to that for all the mortgage prisoners.
For those reasons, I am happy to vote against Lords amendment 8, so long as the Government do everything they can to help those prisoners.