Conservative MP Justine Greening has given The Big Issue founder John Bird’s Creditworthiness Assessment Bill a start on its journey through the House of Commons.
Greening backed the bill today, which aims to make it a requirement for credit providers to take into account rental and council tax payment history, sponsoring the proposed legislation and introducing it to the Commons in its first reading.
The bill has received cross-party backing from every party in the Commons with co-sponsors including Labour’s John McDonnell, Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Vince Cable and his Green Party counterpart Caroline Lucas. The SNP’s Kirsty Blackman, DUP’s Sammy Wilson, Liz Saville Roberts of Plaid Cymru and Labour’s Jonathan Reynolds have also given their support to the bill.
The next step for the proposed legislation, which is at the halfway point of its journey on to the statute book after passing through the House of Lords with no amendments, is the second reading which is pencilled in for October 26.
Speaking ahead of the first reading, Greening said: “This is an important piece of legislation because we need to make sure there is a level playing field in this country. There are 15 million adults in this country renting in addition to those who own their home and pay a mortgage. At the moment, rental payments don’t count like mortgage payments – that’s wrong. This means that some of the poorest people in the country end up paying the most for credit services. We have to get this changed and legislation is the best way of doing that.
“First of all we have got cross-party support, which is really helpful. MPs are really behind this bill and we all know why it’s important that things change. Secondly I’m going to sitting down with Treasury ministers and, of course, Lord Bird. This is a simple change but it can have a really big impact at the end of the day.”