Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Thursday, 3 February 2011

Lord Sugar urges 'strict' regulation of loan adverts

Money lenders should be forced to display the rate of interest they are charging as prominently as the headlines in their adverts, Labour peer Lord Sugar has said.

At question time on 3 February 2011, the star of BBC TV's the Apprentice called on the government to take the matter up with the Advertising Standards Authority.

He said: "It is about time that the Advertising Standards Authority imposed strict regulations about the prominence of warnings in respect to interest payable, giving prominence approximately the same size of the headlines trying to lure the consumers in."

Lord Sugar asked business minister Baroness Wilcox: "Will you once and for all take this matter up with the Advertising Standards Authority?"

Lady Wilcox replied: "The Advertising Standards Authority, if it was answering as I stand here now, would say they are doing everything they should be doing.

"But the questions you are asking means there is considerable concern about this and, therefore, I will of course take back and reflect on what you have said and see if there is anything I can do to help."

Labour's Lord Kennedy of Southwark had said at question time that it was "just wrong" for companies to charge rates of interest that can be as high as 3,000%.

Lady Wilcox said the government was carrying out a review into consumer credit and personal insolvency, and there had been previous investigations of the issue.

"The government is aware of concerns of the high cost credit market and suggestions there should be a cap on the high cost credit products," she said.

But she added: "There are worries about capping as to where people would go to borrow money and we would be worried about them going to illegal loan sharks."

Peers also heard questions on Rwanda, recognising Palestine as a sovereign state, and the EU emissions trading scheme.

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