Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales is leading the way for affordable and ethical credit


- Credit: Newham Cll PR

When I walk down East Ham or Stratford high streets and see more and more money lenders, pawn brokers and hire purchase stores, it makes me furious. These shops are charging almost laughable rates of interest, except there is nothing funny about the impact they have.

I know from talking to residents that many people are fed up with their high streets being dragged down by nuisance businesses exploiting residents and ripping off the most vulnerable. That’s why we have been challenging the clustering of betting shops and taking our fight to the High Court.

Now we’re taking on pay day lenders. I’ve already said we’ll ban the advertising of payday loans on council advertising space and internet. But I want to go further. I believe residents should be able to access an affordable alternative.

That is why councillors have approved plans to challenge the firms that rip off residents with extortionate interest rates by building a fairer alternative for residents. MoneyWorks will bring together affordable loans and savings products, with money and debt advice. I want to give people a fair deal and support them to change their lives and help them when they are struggling.

So when a washing machine breaks down, when there’s an unexpected bill, people will have somewhere else to turn and won’t have to resort to firms who charge over the odds.

Newham is leading the way in developing plans for an ethical and affordable credit offer. Research conducted for us into the lives of people struggling in or at the edge of debt, backs up what I already knew. Money trouble doesn’t just affect people reliant on benefits; it can also have a huge impact on people who are working hard, often holding down more than one job, just to keep themselves and their family’s heads above water.

I am not going to stand by while the poorest people pay the biggest price. There’s no place for loans with interest rates of 2000 per cent. I want to stand up against payday lenders and rip-off shops to give the residents of Newham a fairer deal.