This Loan Could Seriously Damage Your Wealth

Friday, June 15th, 2012 @ 10:14AM

Inequality is yet again being ignored by the Scottish Government – in the most recent episode I was told by Fergus Ewing that the Scottish Government was unable to act, and furthermore, it was unwilling to use the powers which it does have as “it would not be appropriate”.

This turn of events was kicked off by a letter which I sent to Fergus Ewing, asking The Scottish Government to advertise warnings against dangerous pay day loans which leave thousands in spiralling debt each year.  These loans, mostly used by Scots on lower incomes, have interest rates of up to 4000% APR, and leave thousands of desperate Scots facing extortionate debts for loans of as little as £100.

While I accept that The Scottish Government does not have the power to regulate lenders, in 2010/11 the Scottish Government spent over £300,000 advertising against smoking.  If the Government can advertise about the dangers of seriously damaging your health, why can’t it advertise against seriously damaging your wealth?  With a budget of almost £7 million to spend each year on Public Information campaigns, The Scottish Government can afford to advertise in warning the public of this predatory, destructive industry.

It is undoubtedly time for The Scottish Government to stop carping on about their lack of powers and look for creative solutions to protect the public. They are once again failing the Scottish people.

 

P.S. In Westminster, Labour MP Stella Creasy has brought an amendment which would allow the Financial Conduct Authority to cap interest rates on payday loans, which are seen as a growing problem. Evidence from Citizens’ Advice Bureaux shows that enquiries about personal debt have risen by 7% from 2010 to 2011, and branches have noticed a definite trend of people switching from borrowing on credit cards to payday loans.

 

You can also read this Herald article about Kezia’s work on this issue.

Notes Section:

 

1)In 2010/11 - the last financial year for which figures are available for the Scottish Government spent £6.78 million pounds on Public Information Marketing Campaigns.

 Government funded “Do’s”

- £165253 spent on breast-feeding campaign

- £263384 spent on Keep Warm campaign

- £84119 spent on Hand hygiene campaign

- £607168 spent on seatbelt and country road safety campaign

- £1076987 spent on zero waste.

 

Government funded “Don’ts”

- Drink excessively - £521,500

- Carry a Knife - £301,083

- Smoke - £334,717

- Take drugs - £152,484

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