Church groups have called for a campaign to ensure that the amendment to the Financial Services Bill tabled by Walthamstow MP, Stella Creasy, gets approved when the bill gets its second reading in the House of Parliament next month.
Ekklesia, a Christian campaign group, has taken exception to the interest rates that some short term loans companies charge and noted that it seems to be Britain where these companies have taken hold because of the deficiencies in legislation that exist here.
A statement from the group said that the proliferation of food banks and short term loans firms seems to have gone hand in hand and are symptomatic of how unforgiving some aspects of British society have become for the poor in society.
The debt counselling group Payplan, which apparently dishes out free advice on debt problems, has reported that it has seen an explosion in the number of people seeking advice about debt problems which they say have been caused by using short term loans.
Ekklesia thinks that the second reading of the Financial Services Bill in May is a “golden opportunity” for any faith based groups to do something about the debt problem. The first reading of the Bill was on April 23rd, but the amendment relating to the cap on short term loans was not discussed by the end of the day’s proceedings.
The bill involves quite a lot of detail, most of which only indirectly affects the short term loans industry.
Ekklesia’s spokesperson says that a Twitter campaign has been started which is named after a character in the popular TV series “EastEnders” who has been suffering from debt problems.
It was pointed out that Stella Creasy’s amendment to the Bill has drawn a lot of cross-party support, not just from the party that Creasy represents, but apparently the government itself is not too interested. The group thinks that the fact that the owner of the short term loans company, Wonga, has donated around £600,000 to the Conservative Party funds may be something to do with that. Wonga is one of the leading unsecured short term loans companies in Britain.