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Time to bite back against the loan sharks

It is a shocking reality that across the UK there are lenders who charge 4,000% APR and are allowed to get away with it.

We think it is about time that we had proper legal controls to stop this.

It is a sad fact that better-off people in our community pay less for credit, while hard-working families on a low income often have little choice but to go to the legal loan sharks.

The UK is one of the few industrialised nations that does not have a ceiling on the total cost of credit. When the new Financial Conduct Authority regulator is up-and-running next year, it should have the power to protect consumers from the ludicrous charges lenders are free to make.

Crucially, we would like to see the total cost of credit, rather than APR, capped. This ensures that the caps do not distort the market and lenders cannot circumvent the law.

Given the financial pain our country is going through, we need to help low-income households become more resilient to cycles of debt and poverty.

Earlier this year, more than 400 MPs showed some support for these measures, including some of our local representatives.

It is incumbent upon them to do all that they can to tackle the issue of the high cost of credit as it has a devastating effect on the most vulnerable in our society.

REV DR SCOTT PEDDIE, REV PAUL HOLDSWORTH

and THREE OTHERS

Church Action on Poverty NI Committee

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