Plan to limit payday lender numbers

An action plan aimed at limiting the number of payday lenders on the high street has been published by the Scottish Government.

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It will introduce tighter regulations and stricter planning procedures to help cut down on the presence of controversial loan companies.

There are an estimated 180 to 200 payday lenders on Scotland's high streets, the Government said.

The plan has been drawn up after a summit on payday lending was held earlier this year, attended by local authorities, advice services, welfare organisations and credit unions.

It also includes the introduction of a new Financial Health Service which will serve as a one-stop shop for money advice services and promote credit unions.

Local government minister Derek Mackay said: "Payday loan companies are not only blighting our high streets but they are exposing people to financial credit they just cannot afford.

"I won't pretend that this action plan will solve the problem overnight but it's a step in the right direction.

"Through legislation we will remove some of the exemptions from planning control on premises that sell payday loans.

"This will allow planning authorities to implement policies addressing future clustering and over-provision of such activities. The planning proposals also include similar changes regarding controls on betting shops.

"We're making conditions tougher for payday lenders by excluding them from small business bonus schemes and working with the Financial Conduct Authority to tighten up regulations."

He added: "Our new Financial Health Service website will bring together different strands and sources of information and advice, so that anybody with a concern or an issue to do with debt or borrowing can find, in one place, the help and assistance that they need."

Finance

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