§ Mr. Cousins
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the personnel involved in the debt taskforce, its work programme and the preliminary conclusions it has reached. 
§ Dr. Howells
The debt taskforce I set up to explore the cause and effect of overindebtedness and develop practical solutions for achieving more responsible lending and borrowing is made up of representatives from:
- British Bankers Association
- Consumer Credit Association
- Finance and Leasing Association
- Financial Services Authority
- National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux
- Office of Fair Trading
- Personal Finance and Research Centre.
I have asked the taskforce to look at three key issues:improving the transparency of information provided to consumers before and when concluding an agreement; including the small printadoption of core principles of lending practice; including examining an applicant's overall borrowing exposure and ability to repayrequiring clear notification to consumers on free and low interest agreements before the final payment is made.
The taskforce will present its report and recommendations to me in April.