I pay tribute to organisations like Macmillan for the work they do to raise awareness and provide support in Ipswich and across the country for people whose lives have been turned upside down by cancer. I am aware that cancer can bring a real risk of financial hardship, and I appreciate the difference that mortgage providers, for example, can make in helping individuals to manage periods of financial difficulty. I fully support the approach of Macmillan in calling for a duty of care for financial services providers to be introduced through the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill.
The Government has said that the new single financial guidance body that will be established through this Bill should, as part of its money guidance function, provide support for those who fall into financial difficulty as a result of cancer. The House of Lords has agreed an amendment to the Bill, designed to strengthen the body’s objective to ensure its information and advice is available to those most in need, bearing in mind the needs of people in vulnerable circumstances.
In addition, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has committed to consider the issue of a duty of care after the UK has left the European Union. The FCA has said it will then have more clarity about the degree of discretion it has to amend its rules on this matter. The Financial Guidance and Claims Bill will now make its way through the House of Commons and I will follow any further developments with interest.
I will be formally asking the questions that you suggest in your message, and if the answers are not wholly satisfactory I will be writing to the Economic Secretary to the Treasury to seek to understand why the government is not following the course recommended by Macmillan.