A second North council looks set to get tough on payday loan firms.
Northumberland County Council is being urged to support a motion which would see blocks placed on computers in its libraries, workplaces and other authority buildings preventing users accessing short-term loan firms’ websites.
The motion also proposes the council investigate the use of planning law to regulate the growth and spread of such companies.
It comes on the back of Newcastle City Council having already agreed to block access to websites boasting quick loans with high interest at its libraries and customer service points.
The row over online, short-term loan companies, known by many as ‘payday’ lenders, has come into the public eye since Wonga was named as sponsor of Newcastle United.
The motion to the Northumberland authority comes from Labour member for Cramlington Eastfield Laura Pidcock, vice chairman of its South East area committee and elected for the first time in May.
It goes to a full meeting of the council at County Hall in Morpeth on Wednesday afternoon.
The motion states: “The rising cost of living and falling income is causing genuine problems for people with their finances. Among those who borrow from high cost credit companies on average borrow around £326 per month.
“The interest paid on this money is punishing – many are unable to make the repayments.
“This council resolves to block access to payday loan websites through the public PCs in libraries and other council buildings across Northumberland and from its employees’ computers unless and until the industry, including its advertising practices, is effectively controlled.
“This council pledges to investigate the use of planning law to regulate the growth and spread of payday loan companies and pay weekly furniture providers who force maintenance and insurance agreements on customers, on our high streets.
“This action should be taken to enable the council to protect people from taking out high interest loans from companies that fail to check that they can repay the loan, often leading to them becoming trapped in a spiral of debt.
“This council is committed to strongly support recognised credit unions within our county as a sustainable alternative to high cost, short-term credit.
“We also call on this government to legislate and effectively regulate payday lenders and protect our communities from the growth in easy debt to bring closure on austerity as early as possible.”