Barry councillor urges ban on payday loan advertising in Vale libraries
12:01pm Friday 27th September 2013 in News
A BARRY councillor has called for the Vale of Glamorgan Council to follow the lead of councils in Yorkshire and prevent access to high interest payday lenders from public access computers.
Plaid Cymru Councillor Ian Johnson, whose Barry town centre ward includes the library in King Square, said that helpful financial information, such as signposting the support that can be provided by the council or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, should be provided instead.
He also said that there should be planning restrictions on the use of payday lenders in high street locations like Holton Road.
“Recent research from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau shows that there are major flaws with the payday lender scheme,” said Mr Johnson.
“They found that the majority of lenders were irresponsible, with examples of lending to under-18s, people with mental health issues and people who were drunk at the time.
“There was very little investigation into whether those taking out loans could repay them, pressure was then put on people to extend their loans and they would not accept reasonable repayment plans.”
He added: “The economic situation and increase in the cost of living has made it difficult for many families, and so some turn to payday lenders with high interest rates as a way of solving immediate money problems.
“Unfortunately that doesn’t solve the real problem, which is often the lack of well paid work to be found locally here in Barry.
“The Vale of Glamorgan Council should restrict online access to payday lenders on public access computers, such as those in libraries, and instead send them to websites advertising responsible financial information, such as those of the council or the Citizen’s Advice, or the Vale's Credit Union who already hold sessions in the library.
“It isn’t in the Vale’s power at the moment, but I would like to see the Welsh Government’s new Planning Bill include restrictions on payday lenders on the main shopping street and the UK Government properly regulate the whole industry to prevent the sort of ‘fun’ advertising that make these businesses seem as if they are harmless when, in fact, they are often very damaging to families.”