COOKSTOWN councillor Deirdre Mayo has welcomed the news that the SDLP is bringing the fight against payday loans to Westminster and has urged local people to back that fight and sign the Charter to Stop the Payday Loan Rip-Off.
Councillor Mayo said: “I am delighted to see that Foyle MP Mark Durkan has backed the ‘Charter to Stop the Payday Loan Rip-off’ which calls for tougher regulation of payday lenders who are trapping millions of people in spirals of debt – including here in the Mid Ulster area.
“This Charter is supported by some of the UK’s biggest debt, consumer and anti-poverty organisations – including Which? , Citizens Advice, StepChange Debt Charity, Church Action on Poverty and the Centre for Responsible Credit.
“Now local people in Mid-Ulster have the opportunity to urge the Financial Conduct Authority to back the Charter and introduce tougher regulation of payday lenders to stop millions of people being ripped-off.
“I am deeply concerned by the widespread irresponsible lending which has seen payday loan companies charging annual interest rates of up to 4,000 per cent per year.
“By signing the Charter people will be signalling their disapproval of the greedy and unscrupulous loan companies who prey on those who are financially excluded and vulnerable by offering easy credit at extortionate rates. This has tipped so many people in Mid-Ulster and elsewhere into inescapable cycles of debt and poverty.
“Whilst home-credit agencies, moneylenders and loan sharks are not a new phenomenon, in the current economic downturn they have become more prevalent, more pernicious and more profitable.
“The Financial Conduct Authority’s proposals for regulation are a step in the right direction, but they don’t go far enough. This is a once in a generation opportunity to get the proper regulation and enforcement of payday lenders that we badly need. If the opportunity is missed then payday lenders will be able to carry on exploiting people.
“I’d therefore encourage people to add their voice to the growing calls for tougher regulation of payday lenders by signing the Charter at change.org/paydayloancharter.<http://change.org/paydayloancharter.”