AT the beginning of Thurrock’s Loan Shark Awareness week, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Thurrock Polly Billington called on the government to let councils ban legal loan sharks from our high streets.
“It’s great to warn people in Thurrock against using loan sharks – they cause misery for many families in our community. But the reality is not all loan sharks are illegal. Some set up shop right on our high streets.
“Payday lenders exploit people’s need for cash as prices rise and wages stand still. These legal loan sharks are exploiting the situation and many families are pushed further into debt. But the government has so far refused to crack down on them and limit the extortionate interest rates they charge – Wonga’s representative APR is 4,214%.
Research by Which? shows 60% of payday loans are taken out to pay for basics like food, money and petrol. The homelessness charity Shelter suggests as many as a million people use payday loans to meet their housing costs. The very least we can do is take payday lenders out of our high streets. The government should give local authorities like Thurrock council the power to veto licences for high street credit agencies. Such a move could reduce the threat of legal loan sharks exploiting our community.”
If you have an example of extortionate interest rates or unfair practices by high street or online money lenders, get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org