There has been a meteoric increase in the number of short term loans shops opening up for business in some of East Lancashire’s town centres and some concerned citizens just don’t like it and have called on the local councillors to do more to restrict their presence.
The steep rise in short term loans outlets offering high interest loans has been particularly noticeable within the last eighteen months in the towns of Accrington, Blackburn and Burnley. There are now over fifteen outlets with a high street shop front presence in those three towns alone.
Blackburn Chamber of Trade’s Tony Duckworth said that the instant cash loan companies “targeted the vulnerable”.
Some of the locals think that the councils don’t seem to have enough power to be able to discriminate when it comes to allowing businesses to open up in the town centre. There is nothing illegal about a licensed instant cash loan company and as far as opening a shop is concerned they are regarded as a retail enterprise, so have as much right as any other legal business when it comes to operating in a public domain.
Graham Jones, MP for Hyndburn and Haslingden, said that it wasn’t just short term loans companies, but off licences and other gaming establishments such as amusement arcades that seem to be able to operate where they please without any council control.
Tony Duckworth urged people to read the small print when it came to taking up a loan at an instant cash loan company. He acknowledged that there was a market for their services but hoped that people would look at the possible alternatives before jumping at the “carrots” being dangled by the instant cash loans industry now apparently firmly established in town.
Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle, said that East Lancashire had a number of deprived areas where certain inappropriate companies were opening up, including short term loans. Some of the companies in Blackburn and the other two towns mentioned are offering loans well in excess of 2000%.
He thought that the new localisation bill being introduced into parliament might allow local communities to have more power in future about what is allowed to operate in their neighbourhood.