It has been confirmed today that Wonga has recruited a senior adviser directly from David Cameron’s team to be their Head of Government Affairs. Like many other legal loan sharks, Wonga is making massive profits from preying on consumers in Britain’s poorly regulated consumer credit market.
They have used these profits to target our football clubs and Saturday night TV, and now they are targeting the highest echelons of Government. Those Britons struggling with debts caused by payday lending and wondering why the Government is doing nothing to help them will want answers to the following questions:
- The rules on civil service appointments are clear- Someone from such a senior position must have this appointment approved by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments. Will the Government confirm this has happened and publish the advice given to the committee on this appointment by the Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary?
- This person also worked on the GREAT Britain campaign promoting British businesses at the Olympics–will he confirm if Wonga was one of those companies involved in this work?
- Will the Government detail all contact between all number 10 employees and high cost credit companies during Mr Luff’s time of employment including hospitality accepted by Mr Luff as well as any colleagues during this time?
- Given the current debates on consumer credit regulation, will the Government confirm that the terms of Mr Luff’s appointment forbid him from contacting his previous colleagues to speak on behalf of Wonga and if so for how long this ban on lobbying for Wonga will be in place?
Along with Wonga paying for cosy chats at Conservative conference with Ministers and the lack of regulation to tackle the problems these companies are causing British consumers, this appointment only further raises concerns about how seriously this government takes personal debt. When most other countries have capped the costs of credit to protect their citizens from the debts this type of lending can cause, British consumers urgently need to know whose side their Prime minister is on- theirs or the legal loan sharks?
- For more information on the Civil Service Code on Business Appointments please click here.