Written Answers. - Consumer Credit Act, 1995.

Dermot Ahern


582 Mr. D. Ahern asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment if his attention has been drawn to the fact that under the Consumer Credit Act, 1995, credit intermediaries as sole traders are required to pay a sum of £250 for authorisation under the Act and that in some cases the applicant may be on a back-to-work allowance scheme run by the Department of Social Welfare; if so, if he will make or amend regulations to grant such persons exemptions in order to fulfil the spirit of encouraging people back to work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16373/96]

Section 144 of the Consumer Credit Act, 1995, introduced by the Minister of State with responsibility for commerce, science and technology, and which entered into effect on 13 May 1996, requires that a credit intermediary must be authorised by the Director of Consumer Affairs in order to engage in the business of being a credit intermediary. Would-be intermediaries must also hold a letter of recognition from each undertaking, be it a bank, financial institution or building society, for which they act as a credit intermediary.

The annual application fee is £500 in the case of a company or a partnership, or £250 in the case of a sole trader. While section 144 of the Act provides that these fees be varied by means of ministerial regulations, the fees cannot be reduced in respect of a particular applicant or category of applicants. Neither does the Act provide that exemptions may be granted to a particular applicant or category of applicants.