Payday warrior has her say

Perhaps the title should be explained a little before carrying on with this news piece. Stella Creasy, now a well known MP for the London outer borough of Walthamstow, is not a campaigner on behalf of the short term loans industry but against it.

She claims that what has driven her in her work as a relatively new Labour MP is the failure of markets to provide for people’s needs and says her activities, which have been aimed at curbing the influence of what she terms “legal loan sharks” is one example of this.

Her attempt in Parliament recently to get the government to put more limits on what the payday companies can do, received a lot of media attention and it appears that her presence in the High Street in her constituency attracts a lot of admirers from all walks of life.

Her main argument is that the effects of companies like Wonga and the other payday companies as well as the growing number of pawnbrokers are driving some sections of the community further into debt.

It is not a new argument and it is certainly one that seems to draw plenty of comments from all sides of the debate.

During the parliamentary hearing into Creasy’s ten minute bill on payday lenders a Conservative MP commented that there was nothing wrong with the lenders – it was the borrowers that were at fault as they just did not know how to curb their spending.

Remembering this gentleman’s comment brings Ms Creasy to feelings of indignation and wonder where some people have been. She says that the combined effects of rising prices, increasing unemployment and cuts in benefits and government services has made life much more difficult for even those who are used to careful spending.

In her opinion the payday companies have no real interest in their clients paying their loans back on time. She thinks that they far rather prefer that they default and get their loans extended. When a loan is rolled over, it attracts much more interest, so that the loan soon becomes very much more expensive to repay and, for some people, nigh on impossible.

She says that many of the companies are foreign owned and have flocked to Britain from elsewhere because they have had to curtail their activities there or have had their profit margins cut by more stringent regulation. Payday companies, in her opinion, are doing exceptionally well here because the idea of more regulation is simply not acceptable politically to the Coalition.

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