Lambeth council is urging the government to press public Wi-fi providers to block access to payday loan sites, in the same way that it’s acted to protect children from accessing inappropriate adult content.
Cllr Paul McGlone, Cabinet member for Finance has written to culture minister Ed Vaizey asking him to help “…protect adults from payday loan companies who target the least well off and most vulnerable.”
Lambeth council has already blocked access to payday loan websites on the council’s public WiFi network as well as on council computers used by the public and staff in offices, libraries and other premises.
Cllr McGlone has also written to TfL and the Mayor of London asking them to adopt a similar policy and to ban payday loan advertising.
Cllr McGlone said: “ We’re working closely with banks, credit unions, charities and debt advice agencies to offer realistic alternatives to payday lenders but we also want to protect those most at risk from these predatory firms. We know that an increasing number of people use these loans to cover rent, food and childcare costs and get caught in a terrifying spiral of unpayable deb. “
The average interest rate of a payday loan in Lambeth is 1,675 per cent.
Local councils can do very little to stop payday loan shops operating as they can often open up without submitting a planning application.