“STOP LOAN SHARKS PREYING ON VULNERABLE” SAYS GEORGE

The MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives, Andrew George, has written to top regulator, Martin Wheatley, as Christmas approaches, calling on him to clamp down on predatory “loan sharks” who prey on the vulnerable.

Mr George fears that an expensive Christmas will leave many families in a desperate financial state and much more vulnerable to the notorious payday lenders who, he says, have been ripping off millions of families around the country.

Mr George is a prime supporter of the ‘Charter to Stop the Pay Day Loan Rip Off’ which calls for tougher regulation of payday lenders and is supported by a cross party group of MPs.

The Charter is supported by some of Britain’s biggest debt, consumer and anti poverty organisations including Which? Citizen’s Advice, StepChange Debt Charity, Church Action on Poverty and the Centre for Responsible Credit.

Consumer champion, Which? has gathered statistics on household debt and vulnerability to unscrupulous credit lenders. Which? has estimated that more than a third of households in the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives are worried about their level of household debt.

A cross party group of MPs which is calling on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to introduce tougher regulation of payday lenders has pointed out that payday lenders have used shady practices which hide excessive charges, entitle them to raid borrowers’ bank accounts without their knowledge, leaving them in hardship and use irresponsible advertising which mislead those who are drawn into a cycle of debt they find it difficult to get out of.

Mr George said: “It is timely to press the Chief Regulator at the FCA as we approach the most expensive and challenging time of the year for vulnerable families. Many will be under intense pressure in the lead up to and just after Christmas and could easily full prey to the kind of payday lenders that are massively increasing their advertising at this time of year.

“Although the FCA’s current proposals for regulation are a step in the right direction, they don’t go far enough. This is a once in a generation opportunity to get proper regulation and enforcement of payday lenders that is now desperately needed. We must stop payday lenders from continuing to exploit vulnerable people.”

Local people can add their voice to the calls for tougher regulation on payday lenders by signing the Charter at change.org/paydayloancharter