Monday, 27 June 2011


The response to end legal loan sharking campaign tweets over the weekend has been interesting: accused of denying survival to the most excluded in our society and urged to consider the APR of repaying a friend’s loan, amongst the criticisms.

To those who reiterate that capping is a decoy, I concede that in part, you are right. Far more is needed to curtail the availability of high cost credit, most particularly restricting the number of loans taken, but, for now, this bill will do. It will halt the obscenity of rate increases from 1500% to 4000% in less than three years and for that alone, I commend it to the House. 

Moreover, the campaign to end legal loan sharking has raised awareness of the insidious advance of high cost credit into the mainstream and the lenders hate it. With profits from low-income households spent, these leeches crave the newly squeezed middle, shamed into an illusion of “survival”. 

Heaven forbid that consumers should not consume, but rather invent alternatives as their ancestors did. Good Lord, consumers might actually take the money out of lending and put it back into something productive - we can’t have that!

So desperate is the legal loan shark for money that it plants insecurities between family and friends - you cannot tell, you dare not tell, your dirty little secret... No questions asked, no queues to be spotted in, and the fix of cash in minutes. 

But what the hell is so secret about not having enough money?

When so many are suffering the effects of inflation, why pay for the privilege of pretending otherwise? If we can warn children of the dangers of taking sweeties from strangers, surely we can urge our MPs to put a stop to this most predatory of lending. Be sure to contact yours before Tuesday!


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