It has been quite a week for Citizens UK’s Just Money Campaign – run with in partnership with the Contextual Theology Centre.
David Barclay – our Faith and Public Life Officer, who co-ordinates the campaign – blogs on its latest, very local achievement.
The Just Money campaign has notched up another win! Just a few days after the Government’s momentous decision to cap the cost of credit, the Tower Hamlets team have persuaded their local Council to ban payday loan adverts from as many public places as possible.
Nick from the Stepney Salvation Army, Georgia from Queen Mary University and I presented the Just Money petition to Tower Hamlets Council yesterday evening. Thanks to all of the hard work of member institutions in the previous weeks we had over 500 signatures to show broad-based support from across churches, mosques, housing associations and educational groups.
The initial response to our petition was very positive, but it was unclear whether they were going to take the practical step we were asking of banning payday advertising. However, a supportive motion from a Councillor was then debated (see below) which put down in writing everything we were asking for and more. An amendment was proposed which would take out some of the practical steps in the motion because it was claimed that they had already been done. But after a short debate it became clear that this wasn’t necessarily the case, and so the amendment was defeated and the motion passed almost unanimously! So everything below is now going to become official Tower Hamlets Council policy and the Council are very keen to work with us on this issue in the future.
So congratulations are in order for a good deal of work in collecting signatures and spreading the word about the campaign. We can be confident that because of what we’ve done fewer people in Tower Hamlets will fall into payday debt this Christmas, and that is an achievement to be proud of.
The Successful Motion
This Council notes:
– The UK-wide campaign to end ‘legal loan sharking’.
– The Citizens UK Just Money campaign
– The outrageous interest rates charged by some pay day lenders
– The way in which these loans trap people in spirals of unmanageable debt.
– That as Christmas approaches these companies will seek to use public advertising to target people in our borough who are struggling to make ends meet.
– That unaffordable credit is extracting wealth from the most deprived communities.
This Council believes:
– That the lack of access to affordable credit is socially and economically damaging.
– Unaffordable credit is causing a myriad of unwanted effects such as poorer diets, colder homes, rent, council tax and utility arrears, depression and poor physical and mental health.
– That there is a need for better regulation of the payday lending sector, including a cap of the total cost of credit.
– That until such regulation is introduced Tower Hamlets Council should work with partners to do all it can to protect people from usurious lending.
This Council Resolves:
– That payday loan firms should be banned from setting up businesses in commercial property owned by the local authority.
– That pay day loan firms should be banned from advertising in property owned by the council.
– That payday loan firms should be banned from advertising in Council publications or on Council owned advertising boards, from all public computers.
– To promote credit unions in Tower Hamlets as community based organisations offering access to affordable credit and promoting saving.
– To work with school, community organisations, housing providers, faith organisations and providers of debt and money management advice to ensure that every resident of Tower Hamlets has access to financial advice and support.
– That the Council writes to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner of Transport for London) and Vernon Everitt (Managing Director, Customer Experience, Marketing and Communications) informing them of the Council’s decision to ban payday loan advertising in the borough and asking them to consider amending the TfL Advertising Policy to include a similar ban on all London public transport.
– Instructs the Corporate Director, CLC, to report in writing to the next full Council meeting, the steps the Council or Mayor could take to limit the proliferation and impact of high street credit outlets in the borough.
– To call on the government to introduce caps on the total lending rates that can be charged for providing credit.
– To call on the government to give local authorities the power to veto licences for high street credit agencies where they could have negative economic or social impacts on communities.
– To request the Heads of Planning and Licensing to report to the next Council meeting on ways in which officers can use powers at their disposal to ensure that the Council is doing all it can to prevent the promotion, publicity or opening of payday loan outlets or providers