Irresponsible lending leaving families struggling to cope – Jo

Jo pressed the Minister on the Government’s reckless approach to personal debt

Irresponsible lending and the Government’s reckless attitude to high personal debt levels have left many families badly placed to handle the economic downturn, according to Jo Swinson.

Jo pointed to rising insolvency figures in Scotland as an indication of the effect that the credit crunch is having on people north of the border. Individual insolvencies in Scotland were 5,998 in the third quarter of 2008, up 26% from the second quarter (4,735) and up 70% on the same time last year (3,527).

Jo Swinson pressed Treasury Minister Angela Eagle on the issue during a debate in Parliament today. The following is an excerpt of the debate from Hansard:

Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): The Minister says that we are well placed to weather the economic storm, but the huge level of over-indebtedness that many families face means that they are not well placed to do so-as the individual insolvency figures for Scotland, which were released on Friday, showed when they rose by 26 per cent. between quarter two and quarter three. Families and individuals across Scotland-and, indeed, the rest of the UK-are struggling. How are those people, who face such high levels of debt because of irresponsible lending, well placed to weather this storm?

Angela Eagle: I was talking not about individuals but about the economy as a whole when I made my points about interest rates and so on. We have to deal with individual problems as they come to our attention. Clearly, some people are struggling with their debts, which is why we made our announcements to support them. The hon. Lady must not think that I was applying what I said about interest rates and inflation levels to a particular individual in trouble in Scotland-I was not. We recognise that individuals are facing difficulties, and this Government are determined to be alongside them, helping them to cope during this downturn

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