United effort to freeze out pay day loan firms

GLASGOW'S Labour and SNP councillors have joined together to call for action to deal with unscrupulous pay day lending firms.

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After a motion proposed by the city treasurer Paul Rooney and seconded by SNP councillor Gerry Boyle, Glasgow City Council's chief executive has been asked to block access to sites from council-owned computers, such as those in libraries.

Mr Boyle said Dundee City Council has introduced a ban and wants similar action in Glasgow.

Earlier this month, both parties backed the motion condemning the pay day lenders and the high interest rates they charge, accusing them of making profit from those in vulnerable situations.

Mr Rooney's motion stated: "We believe that such pay day lenders prey on the most vulner- able in our city and in the light of further welfare reforms note with deep concern the potential for many more Glaswegians to be trapped in a cycle of debt.

"The council will work alongside relevant partners to inform how best we can tackle this social scourge."

Mr Boyle, said he wanted action following the joint motion which showed a commitment across the council to act where possible.

He said: "Pay day loans represent a huge problem for Glasgow's citizens.

"What can appear on the face of it to be reasonable loans at sensible rates of interest can in fact lead to a spiral of increasing debt and misery.

"With many years of experience in credit control, and more recently working as an advisor to a local Citizen's Advice Bureau, I have first-hand experience of the effects of these loans on people and their families.

"The power to regulate and legislate to control the behaviour of these companies lies at Westminster, but there are steps we can take locally to reduce their impact in Glasgow.

"Dundee City Council has demonstrated that local authorities can take a lead in restricting access to pay day lenders, by blocking access to their corporate websites through council computers.

"I have today written to our council's chief executive asking that Glasgow City Council follow suit. This could be an early win in the city's fight against outrageous interest on loans as we work to establish the Council's working group on this issue.

"At this most financially trying time of year we must be seen to be doing all that we can to help our citizens."

Local government

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