MP is going after legal loan sharks
Loan sharks! Beware! Because MP Stella Creasy is coming after you!
Despite the vaguely silly name, the former Walthamstow councillor believes that credit companies have got away with wrecking people's lives for too long. So she's asking the Government to back her up and act before the spending cuts to help people struggling with debt so they don't end up at the mercy of loan sharks and a potentially disastrous debt cycle.
"I'm very worried that the Government don't get the real problem," Stella says. "The government has to understand that action is needed now to address the high cost of lending which exploits some of the poorest people in our communities who can least afford the charges doorstep lenders set."
The MP is introducing a Ten Minute Rule Bill which is designed to ensure that everyone – and not just those with good credit ratings – can get affordable credit and, most importantly, is protected from exploitation by legal loan sharks.
It's a big problem too, with an estimated 3 million people stuck in the expensive debt. Charges can be as much as £82 for every £100 borrowed. What Creasy hopes is that the Bill will introduce a cap on the total lending rate that can be charged for providing credit, including any late payment and default charges, which will prevent extortion by companies wanting to fleece customers.
She also wants to improve access to the credit unions by integrating them with the Post Office network as well as increasing the funding given to debt counselling agencies.
"It's frustrating that my requests for a meeting on this issue have been completely ignored," Stella says. "Five years ago, many MPs who are now government ministers – including Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander and Ed Davey – signed an Early Day Motion which sought to address extortion by doorstep and payday lenders. I want to know why they have changed their minds since then."