The exploitation of vulnerable people by high-cost credit agencies and payday lenders is an economic and social ill in our society, and it is something that I have campaigned strongly against in the past.
This is a business model that preys on the most financially disadvantaged by offering short-term loans at incredibly high interest rates, typically capturing their consumers in a cycle of debt, where they take out subsequent loans to pay the interest on the original loan. People using these services often exist in a semi-permanent state of short-term debt, and this has been compounded by an insecure job market, zero hours contracts and a merciless austerity project orchestrated by the Conservative Government . This practice is exploitative and morally bankrupt.
I therefore welcome the report published by the Financial Conduct Authority, which recognises the disproportionate financial risk of high-cost credit and payday loans. It sets out recommendations that alternatives to this, such as Credit Unions, are made more available and more visible. They have also compiled a detailed consultation into alternatives, the research into which can be found here.
I would encourage anybody in financial distress to look into sustainable and ethical alternatives before even looking into payday lenders. A great organisation that runs in Bolton is called Hoot Credit Union, which offers a range of loans at very affordable interest rates, alongside comprehensive financial advice.