Residents in Northumberland will no longer be able to access payday loan companies’ websites on public computers after councillors backed a motion.
Northumberland County Council yesterday unanimously agreed an amended motion which will see blocks placed on computers in its libraries, workplaces and other authority buildings preventing users accessing short-term loan firms’ websites.
The council will also investigate the use of planning law to regulate the growth and spread of such companies.
It became the second authority in the region to take such a stance, with 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 – came into the public eye after Wonga was named as sponsor of Newcastle United.
The motion to the Northumberland council came from Labour member for Cramlington Eastfield, Laura Pidcock, vice chairman of its South East area committee and elected for the first time in May.
She told a full meeting of the authority at County Hall in Morpeth yesterday afternoon: “I think it is only right that Northumberland Couty Council in no way facilitates the problem of its residents buying and receiving a payday loan.
“In resolving to block access to over 100 websites on Northumberland County Council computers, we are setting out clearly that we do not condone it.”
Her motion, which drew applause from the chamber, also called on the authority to become “a bastion of responsible loans” and to advertise credit unions.
Leader of the Conservative opposition group Peter Jackson tabled the supported amendment, which stated that those looking for a payday loan on a council computer be automatically directed to information about credit unions, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and government advice sites.