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Blackburn with Darwen Council blocks payday lenders
ACCESS to payday loan firms from public computers in libraries, community centres and other council buildings in Blackburn with Darwen has been blocked.
The borough took the action after becoming concerned about the way the companies operate, and concerns that people who use them can end up in a spiral of debt.
Earlier this month, council leader Kate Hollern backed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's attack on payday lenders.
Now she and her resources boss have acted to stop council IT system being used by people seeking short-term high interest loans from the ten biggest firms following the example of Plymouth City Council.
Councillor Hollern said: “I am very worried about these so called payday lenders. It seems they are actively pursuing the vulnerable.
“Many families and residents are facing extreme hardship in our borough, which has high levels of poverty, and has also been hit by big public sector cuts.
Payday lenders may provide quick and easy credit – but the true costs are often hidden.
“The interests are high, and people can soon find themselves in a circle of debt causing misery.
“We are lobbying for more powers from the Government so that we can restrict the growth of such companies here.”
Coun Andy Kay said: “We took this decision because we are worried about how people can get into debt by using these companies.
“I am also worried about their marketing practices and who they seem to specifically target.
“We have stopped access to the biggest payday loan companies.
“We can, and will, add more to the list. We want to make it difficult for these companies to operate here.
“I would urge people to think long and hard before going to these companies.
“There are other ways and better alternatives.
“Go to ethical lenders such as credit unions.
“If you have money problems, there is plenty of advice available.
“There are also East Lancs Moneyline, a not-for-profit company which provides loans and advice to families who are struggling and the Jubilee Tower Credit Union.”
Last month Coun Hollern, Blackburn MP Jack Straw and Blackburn Cathedral Canon Andrew Hindley criticised The Cash Store in Railway Road for giving away 20 pence pieces in a ‘marketing ploy’ to attract customers.
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