Tag Archives: David Cameron

Government Lets Legal Loan Sharks Slip Through The Net Again says MP as FCA Dodges Credit Caps Question

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Responding to the proposals outlined for consumer credit lenders in the Financial Conduct Authority’s rulebook, Stella Creasy MP again warned time was running out to tackle the problem legal loan sharks cause and called for Government to introduce a total cost cap on credit. Speaking about the proposals Stella said:

“Whilst I welcome the focus of the FCA on legal loan sharks and their research into capping, the lack of real action again today on the actual cost of credit itself will be a blow for many caught in a spiral of debt due to payday lenders. The FCA’s hands are being tied by a Government that consistently speaks out against what most other countries have done to tackle legal loan sharks by opposing capping what these companies can charge. With 80% of these loans for just putting food on the table, or a roof over their heads, we know people are borrowing for everyday essentials not luxuries. Price caps would make these loans more affordable and so less like to cause debt problems in themselves. The measures the FCA announced today may go some way to limiting some of the damage being done, but they won’t prevent them like capping would. The FCA today have said they don’t have the data from lenders to set a cap – and that’s why the Government must step in before April 2014 to make it a requirement for these companies to work with the FCA in setting a proportionate cap. That’s why Labour is committed to introducing a total cost cap- and why it’s wrong that the government keeps ruling it out.”

Commenting on the FCA proposals to limit rollovers Stella said:

“An OFT report into the industry has shown how only 11% of lenders assess the affordability of a loan the first time the loan is rolled over – with people using multiple lenders to pay off multiple loans, whilst a third of loans are repaid late or not repaid at all. Limiting rollovers within individual firms will do little to stop this payday tourism, as borrowers move from company to company taking out loans to cover existing ones.”

Commenting on plans to limit the ability of companies to use continuous payment authorities Stella said:

“It’s right that we reform how CPAs are used, but limiting the number of times they can be used doesn’t deal with the amount the firms are taking from bank accounts which is the real source of problems. Lord Freud says the Government is worried about companies exploiting universal credit payments to make sure they get their money – these proposals won’t prevent that, and if anything could make it more likely these firms will debit bank accounts early to ensure they get their fees. That ministers think the way in which money is taken is the problem- rather than the amount itself- shows how hopelessly out of touch they are on this issue.  Jo Swinson calls capping the ‘warm and fuzzy’ approach, failing to understand it’s the cost of credit itself which causes the problems in the first place to consumers.”

She continued to discuss the problems with the market:

“The case for change is overwhelming -legal loansharks are making profits of more than £1m a week as British consumers struggle with the rising cost of living. Report after report shows this industry is out of control – and the on-going investigation by the Competition Commission into the entire industry shows tinkering around the edges using rulebooks and guidance will do little to fundamentally overhaul this industry. For the past 3 years, the Office of Fair Trading, the Government and payday lenders themselves have all promised to take action on this industry following repeated warnings continually falling on deaf ears. Yet 3 years later, and every rule in the book still broken, legal loansharks continue to make 50% of their profits on loans rolled over or refinanced at least once and families are being forced to borrow for basics at rates of over 5,000%. Those who represent these lenders, such as the Consumer Finance Association, talk tough – claiming that the problem is just a few bad apples. Yet time and time again they refuse to debate with me the merits of making credit more affordable to prevent people getting into difficulty in the first place.”

Speaking about the Sharkstoppers’ campaign Stella said:

“The announcements today show just why Sharkstoppers’ campaigners fought to give the FCA the power to cap the cost of credit from April 2014 – so that the FCA could act to protect consumers and prevent debt problems. Yet without the support of Government to do this they are stuck, unable to really take on a litigious and aggressive industry which is protecting its profit margins. That’s why we are responding to the FCA’s consultation reaffirming our warning that without the FCA using its power to put a cap on the total cost of credit, legal loansharks will continue to be written blank cheques – making millions off hard-pressed Britons. Alongside a cap, the Centre for Responsible Credit and other organisations have called on the FCA to implement real-time credit checking across the industry – forcing companies to take responsibility for the lending they provide.

Only tough action by the FCA and the Government can stop the next 3 years being easy pickings for the legal loansharks – preventing people from getting into a damaging cycle of debt at the hands of these companies by giving them access to affordable credit, rather than just sitting by and trying to limit the damage they cause. British consumers deserve better – access to affordable and responsible credit, and action now can give them protections that others around the world enjoy. Lower levels of personal debt, lower levels of illegal lending and greater access to affordable credit. We can’t afford not to cap.”

Ends.

Notes

1. The FCA published its proposals for consumer credit lenders in the Financial Conduct Authority rulebook – you can find out more about the proposals in full by visiting the FCA website.

–          The consultation closes on the 3rd December 2013 and you can take part by reading the proposal document by visiting the website.

–          Martin Wheatley from the FCA has said the regulator is looking at a total cost cap but currently does not have the market data to assess where to place the cap level.

2. The Office of Fair Trading launched its review into compliance with its responsible lending guidance in February 2012.

–          You can view the report in full by visiting the OFT website

–          Half (48%) of payday loan users have taken out credit that it turned out they couldn’t afford to repay

–          A third (29%) of payday loan users have taken out credit that they knew they couldn’t repay and in the last 12 months of 2012, more than half (57%) of people with payday loans missed a payment and incurred charges because of missed of bounced repayments.

–          The Office of Fair Trading referred the market to the CC for investigation in June this year. The CC is now carrying out its own comprehensive investigation, to see if there are any features of this market(s) which prevent, restrict or distort competition and, if so, what action might be taken to remedy them. For more information visit the competition commission website.

3. The Sharkstoppers campaign pack contains campaign ideas for making local communities legal loanshark free zones – It can be downloaded from Stella Creasy’s website and has been circulated to campaigners across the country. You can download the pack by clicking here 

4. Stella Creasy MP has been campaigning for caps on the cost of credit since 2010. You can find more details on her campaign hereFor more information visit Stella Creasy MP’s website at www.workingforwalthamstow.org.uk or call Jon Chambers on 020 8521 1223.

Cap cost of credit to ease pains of Broke Britain says MP

shark1-290x290Responding to new figures released by R3, the Association of Business Recovery professionals, showing the public resisting payday lending, Stella Creasy MP has renewed calls for the Government to end legal loan sharking in the UK;

“Today’s research from R3 shows the fightback against legal loan sharking is beginning to bite, as Britons are heeding warnings about the damage this type of lending can do to their personal finances. Whilst one in ten of those struggling financially are concerned about their payday loan debts, this data shows a decline in those intending to use these products to make ends meet in future.

This does not mean Britain is getting better off or is less in need of credit- with more believing their financial position will worsen than improve in the remainder of 2013. That’s why we can’t afford to be complacent about the conduct of these companies- with 80% of payday loans being used just to afford food on the table or putting a roof over their head, British consumers deserve action now.

Worryingly, R3’s research also shows payday borrowers are dipping into their bank overdrafts to pay off payday loans – making it harder for them to make ends meet the following month. Indeed, 40% of those who took out a payday loan say this loan made their financial position worse. Even though the Office of Fair Trading has referred the entire industry to the Competition Commission because of their concerns about these companies, it is the price of credit itself that is the real root of concern. By refusing to consider a cap on the cost of credit the Government continue to give the industry a free ride to cause havoc.

The new Financial Conduct Authority has the power to cap on the cost of credit but needs the data from these companies to be able to do so- if the industry is serious about their claims to responsibility they should provide it to the regulator now. If 2013 is not to be the year Britain is truly broke not broken, consumers here need the protection others around the world enjoy.

Even if the Government won’t get its act together we can all keep fighting back. That’s why today we are launching the 2013 Sharkstoppers campaign pack. We are calling for organisations and individuals across our society to help halt the relentless march of payday loan companies across our high streets and internet until we see real reform of this industry. Whether asking celebrities to commit to not to promoting these firms, shopping centres or transport hubs to removing their all too often misleading adverts from their premises or running debt advice workshops we can all help press the case for change. With yet another

set of evidence that shows the debt and misery this unfair market causes – it’s time to put the needs of British consumers first and end legal loansharking in the UK in 2013.”

Ends

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Notes for editors

Data released today by R3 notes that;

  • There has been an increase in the number of adults who are worried about their debts with half of GB adults, equating to just over 20 million people, say that they are worried about their current level of debt, an increase from 42% in February this year.
  • One in five adults say that they are very or extremely worried about their current level of debt, up from one in ten in early 2013
  • Payday loans continue to give rise to concern but the potential customer market appears to be shrinking
  • Of those adults worried about their current level of debt, 10% say that they are worried about debt from payday or other short-term, high interest loans.
  •  Encouragingly, however, less than one in 10 British adults say they are likely to seek a payday loan in the next six months (7%), a drop from 11% last recorded in October 2012.
  • The highest concern about payday or other short-term, high interest loans is evident amongst 18 to 24 year olds. Of those within this generation who are worried about their debts, one in five (19%) say that they are worried about payday or other short-term loan debt, up from 8% in February and almost matching the highest levels of concern seen in this age group in July and October 2011.
  • For more information on the research by R3 contact Nick Cosgrove by email or on 020 7566 4215 or visit the R3 website at www.r3.org.uk 
  • The Sharkstoppers campaign pack contains campaign ideas for making local communities legal loanshark free zones – offering materials to help lead action to kick out advertising from sports grounds, shopping centres and university campuses as well as asking celebrities to make sure they don’t sign up to promote payday lenders on our TV sets and promote debt advice and affordable credit within localities. It can be downloaded from Stella Creasy’s website and will be circulated to 2,000 campaigners across the country. You can download the pack by clicking here .

Government lets legal loan sharks off the hook again as millions suffer claims MP

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Responding to today’s publication of the full OFT report into the payday loan industry which is seeking to refer the entire industry to the Competition Commission , Stella Creasy MP said;

“This report is a damning indictment of the Government’s failure to act on this market. Despite three years of warnings, under their watch its now clear legal loan sharks are out of control in Britain and our consumer credit market urgently needs meaningful reform. The best way to prevent the problems payday lending causes is to cap the costs of credit, so that people do not get into debt in the first place.  So whilst announcements on credit checking and advertising will help limit the damage these loans do, the Government is still ducking the real issues.

For too many consumers, the only people who will lend to them at the moment are these legal loan sharks. There is no competition for their business. That is why a cap on the total cost of borrowing makes more sense than relying on affordability assessments which leave lenders to decide what consumers can pay. The Government is clearly out of touch with the way this industry works and is giving it a free pass to push millions more into debt by not setting out what a is fair price for credit as they do in most other countries.

The OFT must be given clearance to refer this industry to the Competition Commission and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) must now act to urgently review the protection of British consumers so that they can benefit from the setting of a fair price for credit – just as we see in many other countries.

It is not the legal loan sharks’ advertising campaigns that are causing the real problems for British families struggling with the cost of living: it is their interest rates. And if this Government will not act to protect consumers now, we know a future Labour Government will.”

The publication of the full report by the OFT is yet just another in a long line of investigations to report about the payday loan industry. Below you can find details of each of the reviews and reports that have been commissioned and published over the past 3 years.

Stella Creasy MP is calling on #sharkstoppers campaigners to urge the Financial Conduct Authority to launch their own urgent research into the implementation of a total cost cap and back the referral of the payday loan industry to the Competition Commission by the OFT. The National Audit Office’s own work shows the failure to address this issue cost UK consumers £450m last year.

Ends.

Notes

 

Call for Parliament to rethink sex education as part of campaign to end violence against women

obrAs part of the global One Billion Rising campaign, Stella Creasy MP joins cross-party campaigners and famous faces from across the UK in calling on Parliament to rethink sex education in the UK. 

On 14 February supporters rally at Parliament Square in support of Commons debate

The ONE BILLION RISING campaign will come to the UK parliament today as part of a call for action to end violence against women.  As thousands of campaigners across Britain come together at  150 different events in the UK alone, Members of Parliament will debate a motion calling on the Government to make relationship education a requirement in schools.

Activists in the UK will be joining a worldwide movement in over 200 other countries to call for renewed efforts to end violence against women. Ahead of this debate campaigners will stage a flashmob outside parliament to support this proposal and release  109 balloons; one for every woman killed by her partner or  former partner in the UK in 2012.

Speaking about why they would be  taking part in this day of action actress and V-Day board member Thandie Newton said:

“One Billion Rising is going across cultural lines, political lines, class lines- it’s a pandemic, and different parts of the world are responding differently to the campaign, focusing on what is most problematic for them to do with violence against women. I want it to be big and bold, and to reach as many young people in the UK as possible, and that is why I will be attending Parliament Square in support the bill that aims to protect future generations from violence against women and girls”

Jahmene Douglas, runner up in 2012’s UK X-Factor and Women’s Aid Ambassador for Children and Young People said:

“As the Ambassador for Children and Young People at Women’s Aid I am joining One Billion Rising because I feel passionately that young people should be taught about healthy relationships in school, and that we need to do this if we are ever going to reduce the amount of domestic violence. I have first-hand experience of what it’s like to grow up with domestic violence at home, and ask the government to act now and make respectful sex and relationship education compulsory.”

Speaking about the campaign Stella Creasy MP said:

“When we live in a country where 750,000 children witness acts of domestic abuse a year and a third of girls in relationships aged 13-17 have experienced physical or sexual violence in relationships, when one in three women in our world will be beaten or raped in her lifetime it’s time for all of us to stand up and say enough. I am proud to be backing One Billion Rising by supporting the call to make a zero tolerance approach to violence in relationships part of the school curriculum.

“Keeping our young people safe is so important and teaching both boys and girls about positive relationships and respect in schools is key to this. With so many people turning outacross Britain I think it’s important that these issues are taken seriously and policies which will protect future generations from violence against women and  girls are debated in Parliament.”

Ends

For more information contact the office of Stella Creasy MP: 020 7219 6890 or visit www.obruk.wordpress.com

Notes to Editors

1. The photocall for this event will be at 11.15am on Parliament Square in central London. Representatives will be available for comment through arrangement with Purple PR.

2. 109 Balloons will be released by NIA, A North London Charity delivering services to end violence against women. More information is available through their website: http://www.niaendingviolence.org.uk/

3. This event takes place alongside over 150 other events across the UK and a full day of activities in London including flashmobs in Covent Garden, the Southbank, the Young Vic and in Whitechapel. The full list of UK events is available at the One Billion Rising international website. 4. Alongside action in the UK there are events in over 200 countries around the world including Israel, Nigeria, the Philippines, France, Peru, South Africa, Afghanistan, Luxembourg, Australia and America.

5. The parliamentary motion for debate on Thursday 14th February has been called for by a cross party group of MPs and is as follows:

“That this House notes the One Billion Rising Campaign, and the call to end violence against women and girls; and calls on the government to support this by introducing statutory provisions to make personal, social and health education, including a zero tolerance approach to violence and abuse in relationships, a requirement in schools.”

6. This proposal has been developed by campaigners who took part in workshops about the One Billion Rising Campaign across the UK throughout 2012. It follows the work of the End Violence Against Women ‘Schools Safe for Girls’ and the evidence of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and the University of Bedfordshire’s Exploitation Inquiry, which uncovered worrying trends of increased sexual exploitation of young people by their peers.

A 2010 YouGov poll found that almost a third (29%) of 16-18-year-old girls say they have been subjected to unwanted sexual touching at school, and the NSPCC found that a third of girls in relationships aged 13-17 have experienced physical or sexual violence in relationships, while one in 16 of this group reported experiencing rape.

7. Making Sex and Relationship Education statutory and standardised was also a key and recurring recommendation from a recent Cross-Party Investigation into unwanted pregnancies.

About One Billion Rising

One in three women on the planet is raped or beaten in her lifetime, according to the UN. That is ONE BILLION WOMEN violated. One billion daughters, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, lovers and friends. On 14th February 2013, V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, we are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. ONE BILLION RISING will move the earth, activating women and men to dance across every country. V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers and our solidarity across borders. Join V-Day and ONE BILLION RISING today and SAY NO to violence against women and girls. To sign up and learn more, visit

 

www.onebillionrising.org

 

About V-Day:

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler’s award winning play “The Vagina Monologues” and other artistic works. In 2012, over 5,800 V-Day benefit events organized by volunteer activists in the U.S. took place around the world educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over US $90 million; educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it; crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns; reopened shelters; and funded over 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. Over 300 million people have seen a V-Day benefit event in their community. V-Day has received numerous acknowledgements including Worth Magazine’s 100 Best Charities, Marie Claire Magazine’s Top Ten Charities, one of the Top-Rated organizations on Philanthropedia/Guidestar and Great Nonprofits.

www.vday.org

 

The Government must make ending violence against women a priority: #OBRUK

Today, writing in Politics Home, Stella Creasy MP called on the Government to support the One Billion Rising campaign and to make ending violence against women a priority.

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“Today is a test of the true intentions of this Government when it comes to women. With a billion women -one in three -beaten or raped in their lifetime, the One Billion Rising campaign is calling for all to make ending violence towards them a priority. At 11am today Thandie Newton, Ruby Wax and The X-factor’s Jahmene Douglas will lead a flashmob in Parliament Square along with MPs and Peers in support of compulsory sex and relationship education for both boys and girls in schools. Yet despite cross party support- Fiona MacTaggart is leading a debate on this today with the backing of Amber Rudd, Tessa Munt, Valerie Vaz, Annette Brooke, Jessica Lee, Caroline Lucas and Karl Turner – the Government is prevaricating.

Indeed, there are worrying signs that despite the evidence of its prevalence, rather than a renewed determination to tackle violence against women, efforts are slowly and surely being downgraded. From ministers who publish guidance telling women to watch what they wear to avoid being attacked, to a Secretary of State suggesting a caution is an acceptable penalty for rape and a Home Secretary unable to commit to ensuring victims of sexual violence have counselling ahead of appearing in court. In standing with One Billion Rising the Government has the opportunity to send a message this is not the case. So far ministers have dodged this, but today’s vote means they can no longer avoid the question.

Across 203 countries activists are seeking cultural, political and economic change to ensure everyone can lead lives free from fear. Here in Britain our focus is on changing attitudes of our children – when so many think violence against women is justified if she’s late with the dinner or had an affair it’s time we taught not just the mechanics of sex, but the importance of respect and consent.

A third of 16-18-year-old girls say they have been subjected to unwanted sexual touching at school, and a third aged 13-17 have experienced physical or sexual violence in relationships, while 1 in 16 reporting experiencing rape. High profile cases – whether in Ohio or here in Battersea- show what can happen when sexual abuse and violence goes unchecked and unchallenged in schools. The NSPCC report children as young as twelve “worried, confused and, in some cases, upset by the sexual and ‘sexting’ pressures they face”.Yet provision is woeful at best – with free schools and academies able to avoid it all together if they wish. A quarter of secondary school pupils report getting no SRE whatsoever and 26% of those who do say their teacher doesn’t teach it well. As the charity Brook highlight, the lack of relevant information in schools and at home means 81% of teenagers are getting most of their sexual health knowledge from less reliable sources, leaving them ill prepared to navigate their way through relationships. Labour’s plans to change this became a victim of the ‘wash up’ ahead of the 2010 election. Many have rightly held us all to account for this- now it is time to ensure this does not happen again.

One Billion Rising is the largest volunteer campaign the world has ever seen- with some calling it a ‘feminist tsunami’. . Supporters range from Julia Gillard, Robert Redford, Charlize Theron, to the United Nations and Herman Van Rompey. From South Africa to Peru, through Bute, Manila and Luxembourg via San Francisco, Nigeria and Tel Aviv, activists are organising flashmobs, performances and seeking policies to ensure equal protection within society. You know something special is going on when hotbeds of radical activism as different and distinctive as Bute, Watford, Peterborough and Kirklees are joining the call for change. I welcome and have campaigned for financial education to be part of the national curriculum. But this raises the question- if we can ensure children are aware of compound interest, why can we not also ensure they are aware of consent? We know there are supporters of this in Government. Our message today is we want to work with them if they are willing to challenge those – whether in the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice or in Michael Gove’s Education Department- who stand in the way of making our schools a safe space for all. For all the strategy plans and warm words, its action that counts. And today it is time to rise.”

MP calls on Government to act as research shows public feeding legal loan sharks before feeding themselves

Speaking following the publication of new research today by R3, the insolvency practitioner and undertaken by ComRes which showed 5 million Britons could find themselves borrowing from payday lenders in the coming six months Stella Creasy MP said: 

‘Today’s research from R3, the insolvency practitioner body, highlights the growing numbers of Britons who are now in hock to these lenders and the financial problems this is causing. I’m horrified to think nearly 1 in 10 are choosing to payback these loans rather than feed themselves, or pay for the energy bills. The public know these loans are toxic, but what choice do they have when they’re trying to keep a roof above their heads or pay to get to work?

With British gas bills set to go up at the end of this week and people’s pay-packets showing no sign of increasing to match the cost of living, little wonder these companies are able to push people into debt with this toxic type of borrowing. With 1 in 3 payday loans taken out to pay for other payday loans and 80% of them for basics, households need us in Westminster to recognise the strain they are under.

I warned ministers in 2010 that they were facing a debt crisis if they didn’t stop these companies exploiting our lax credit regulation- two years they have done nothing and millions more are now facing a debt laden Christmas and new year.

When the evidence is so clear of the problems now facing millions in our country it is simply inexcusable for the Government to refuse to act. They urgently must stop blocking legislation to cap the costs of credit and protect British consumers from these legal loan sharks.

I hope they will at least now vote for the amendment tabled by Lord Mitchell in the lords to the Financial Services Bill to cap what these firms can charge in 10 days time and give some hope to Britain’s hard-pressed families trying to make ends meet.’

ENDS

___________________________________________________________________________________

Notes

1. A survey by Which? in November 2012 shows;

  • Half (48%) of payday loan users have taken out credit that it turned out they couldn’t afford to repay.
  • A third (29%) of payday loan users have taken out credit that they knew they couldn’t repay.
  • In the last 12 months, more than half (57%) of people with payday loans have missed a payment and have incurred charges because of missed or bounced repayments (56%).
  • 43% of payday loan users say it’s too easy to get credit.
  • Almost a third (31%) were hassled by debt collection agencies in the past 12 months.
  • One in ten UK payday customers have incomes of less than £11,100 per year and 46% have incomes of less than £15,500 a year.
  • Research by WHICH? Showed that over 60% of people who took out payday loans were using the money to pay for household bills or buying other essentials like food, nappies and petrol.
  • Payplan, a debt charity company, says that 47% of its clients had six or more payday loans in the last year alone.  Most crucially, 86% of its clients were using the loans for basics—food, transport and the basic costs of everyday living, not luxuries.

2. R3, the insolvency practioner, commissioned research from ComRes published today showing more than 5 million adults are considering taking out a payday loan in the next six months.

  • More than 5 million (5,205,237) GB adults say they are considering taking a payday loan in the next six months. This equates to approximately a 50% increase since this time last year, when it was around 3.5 million individuals.
  • These loans are most likely to appeal to the younger demographic, with more than one in four (26%) of 18-24 year olds likely to seek a payday loan in the next six months. This is well above the national average across all ages of 11%, and 4% of those aged 45 and over.
  • London is the UK region most likely to seek a payday loan in the next months, with 23% of Londoners saying they are likely to take one.
  • In the past six months, 13% of the GB population have prioritised paying back these loans over traditional ‘essentials’,  such as buying food, clothes or paying for gas and electricity. Specifically 7% have prioritised paying back these loans over buying food in the past six months.
  • This figure is higher amongst younger ages groups, 12% of 18-24 year olds or 15% of 25-34 year olds have prioritised paying back a payday loan over buying food in the past six months.

3. Stella Creasy MP has been campaigning for caps on the cost of credit since 2010. You can find more details on her campaign here.

For more details on the campaign to tackle legal loan sharking in the UK visit Stella Creasy MP’s website www.workingforwalthamstow.org.uk ; or call 020 8521 1223.

High Interest in Wonga’s Latest Recruit: Four Questions Government Must Answer on Legal Loan Sharks in Number 10

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:

    1. 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?
    2. 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?
    3. 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?
    4. 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?

Ends.

  • For more information on the Civil Service Code on Business Appointments please click here.