Martin Lewis calls thinktank plans for industry-led bailiff regulation a 'pyrrhic victory', but independent, statutory regulation is needed

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has set out its proposals to protect consumers with problem debt from harsh bailiff practices, in the form of a new, industry-funded regulator, the Enforcement Conduct Authority. But Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, says an industry-led body would not go far enough to protect consumers and could let government “off the hook” from creating a statutory regulator. 

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “I am concerned this may be a pyrrhic victory. While any regulation is a welcome improvement in the short term, this self-regulation will not cover the whole industry. We cannot simply allow the companies that are willing to be policed, to choose to police themselves, with the rest remaining on the outside. We need every company in the industry to be tightly and independently regulated.

“After all, it is possible over 50% of those being dealt with by bailiffs have mental health issues and vulnerabilities – so this isn’t an arcane philosophical discussion, lives are at risk. While I do expect these voluntary trade rules to mean some improvement, the problem is that it is a sop to the Government and bailiffs, letting them off the hook from bringing in proper, statutory-based, compulsory regulation that all firms must follow.”

 

-ends-