TC240903.45

Session 2002-03 No.  45                                      24 September 2003


FORTHCOMING MEETING OF THE MAIN COMMITTEE


The Treasury Committee will hold the following meeting, at which oral evidence will be taken from witnesses indicated.

THE FINANCIAL SERVICES AUTHORITY

Tuesday 21 October 9.30: Mr Callum McCarthy, Chairman, Mr John Tiner, Chief Executive, Financial Services Authority

FORTHCOMING MEETINGS OF THE SUB-COMMITTEE

The Treasury Sub-committee will hold the following meetings, at which oral evidence will be taken:

OFFICE FOR NATIONAL STATISTICS 2002-2003

Wednesday 15 October 2.30 pm: Mr Len Cook, The National Statistician

THE ADJUDICATOR'S OFFICE ANNUAL REPORT 2003

Wednesday 29 October 2.30 pm: Dame Barbara Mills DBE QC, The Adjudicator

These meetings will be preceded by a private deliberative meeting of the Committee to which the press and public will not be admitted. Meetings may be subject to last minute changes to or addition of witnesses. 

These meetings will be held in a Committee Room of the House of Commons or Portcullis House.  Those wishing to attend meetings should check the venue by contacting the House of Commons Public Information Office on 020 7219 4272 on the day before the hearing.

TRANSPARENCY OF CREDIT CARD CHARGES:

PROGRESS OF THE INQUIRY

1.Following oral evidence from credit card issuers in July and from the Department of Trade and Industry and Office of Fair Trading in September, the Chairman of the Committee, John McFall MP, has written to the main industry body (the Association for Payment Clearing Services, which represents all the leading card issuers), the DTI and the OFT and the 5 main credit card issuers to encourage further progress on improving clarity for consumers.

2. The letters ask the industry and the Government bodies to work together:

            -  to agree a common method for calculating APRs (there is at present a difference of view between the OFT and much of the industry about the correct or best method); and

            -  to explore whether there is scope for greater standardisation in the way in which interest is charged by different issuers (for example in respect of the date from which interest starts to be charged) so that consumers would be better able to understand the information they are given.

3.This builds on the progress already made by the industry, following the Committee's investigations, in agreeing proposals for greater clarity and standardisation in the information given to prospective card holders.

4.hese issues will be discussed with the heads of the 5 banks referred to above (Barclays, RBS, HBOS, Lloyds TSB, MBNA) at the hearing on Thursday 16 October (9.30 am) already announced by the Committee.

5.Mr McFall has also written to storecard issuers seeking further information. Following the Committee's meeting with the OFT on 9 September, the OFT indicated that it would be conducting informal investigations of the storecard market. It has since announced the scope of these investigations.

6.The Committee will decide in October, after the meeting on 16 October, whether it wishes to hold further evidence sessions at this stage.