MSPs call for early cap on pay day loans

THE Scottish Government has called for a cap on pay day loans to be imposed within months to protect people from high interest payments.

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The UK Government said it will bring in a cap in January 2015, but Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing said it should be in place by April next year.

MSPs debated pay day lenders in the Scottish Parliament with calls for greater protection for people on low incomes forced to borrow at high interest rates.

Mr Ewing said: "I am very concerned that the growth of pay day lending is perpetuating a culture of exploitation as high interest borrowing casts thousands of people in Scotland into a spiral of debt. While we welcome the news that a cap will be introduced, it is long overdue and we are disappointed that it will not be come into force until January 2015 at the earliest.

"Another 12 months of unconstrained pay day lending will do nothing to address the very real financial pressures faced now by people across Scotland."

Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale led the debate and said Citizens Advice Bureaux were seeing more than 100 people a week with pay day loan fears.

She used an example of a constituent who saw a £200 loan for Christmas presents two years ago spiral to £5000 with five firms.

Ms Dugdale said: "These firms can check your account every five minutes and take out wages as soon as they are paid.

"It is a result of the cost of living crisis where there is just too much month left at the end of the money for too many families."

Ms Dugdale said there was a need for affordable credit and suggested credit unions should be promoted as a viable alternative.

Local government

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