5 Oct 2012

Unanimous action on High Street Credit Agencies

Click on read more to see the motion re High Street Credit Agencies that received unanimous support at Council on Wednesday night. It is hugely unfortunate that High Street Credit Agencies have flourished recently – partly as a consequence of the failures of mainstream lenders such as High Street banks who are less willing to lend money - bit perhaps more so as the American companies doing this come to the UK.

People are left with little option when money is needed. There is horrible anecdotal evidence from other areas that companies lend money to people that can’t afford to pay back in a month so that they can roll over the loan. And some of the interest rates are just diabolical.....

The Coalition Gov have promised action on excessive interest rates for store cards and credit cards but this wont help those who can’t access that credit. If we talk of fairness then we cannot ignore that the people paying the highest rates on loans are those people who are least able to afford it. It is great Stroud is at least attempting to act on this - Credit Unions are the way to go...

This Council:

Notes and welcomes the UK-wide campaign to end ‘legal loan sharking’;

Believes that the lack of access to affordable credit is socially and economically damaging, and that unaffordable credit has undesirable side effects such as poorer diets, colder homes, rent, council tax and utility arrears and mental ill-health;

Believes it is the responsibility of all levels of government to try to ensure affordable credit for all and therefore pledges to use best practice to promote financial literacy and affordable lending. This will help to ensure that wealth stays in the local economy;

Pledges to promote the Stroud district Credit Union that offers access to affordable credit and promotes saving;

Calls on government to introduce caps on the total lending rates that can be charged for providing credit;

Calls on the government to give local authorities the power to veto licences for high street credit agencies where they could have negative economic or social impact on the community.

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