Council steps up opposition to pay day lending

The Highland Council is to write to the UK Government, the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to highlight its total opposition to the high-cost short-term credit offered by pay day lending companies and the misery that spiralling debt brings to the poorest in society.

A priority, they say, is to cap the level of interest on the repayment of loans, which can be as high as 4,000 per cent, at no more than 60 per cent.

At the same time, a council delegation is to seek an early meeting with officials of the Hi Scot Credit Union, which is based in Stornoway, to discuss what additional support the Council can provide to increase awareness and membership of the union.  The Council sees the Credit Union as a viable alternative form of affordable credit to consumers across the Highlands.

The issue was considered by members of the Finance Housing and Resources Committee, who also wished more to be done to highlight that unsolicited door-to-door selling of loans is an offence.

Councillor Dave Fallows, Chair, Finance Housing and Resources Committee, said: “I have very grave misgivings about the ease with which people can borrow money and the very high rate of interest they pay for the privilege.  In many cases, it places the poorest people in our society in even greater debt.

“I will be urging the powers that be to introduce legislation that curbs the level of interest payday lenders can charge for their loans.  The Council will also be seeking to hold discussions with Hi Scot Credit Union to identify what steps can be taken to increase their Highland membership of 350 and promote the benefits of saving, borrowing and planning via a credit union.”

28 Nov 2013