Payday Loan ‘football campaign’ launched by Citizen’s Advice Scotland

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  By Angela Haggerty
 
Nairn’s Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is teaming up with Nairn County FC to raise awareness of the problems posed by using payday lenders.
 
The campaign follows comments made in the last few days by payday lenders to a committee of MPs insisting that customers are happy with the quick-cash service.  The comments prompted anger among many who believe vulnerable cash-strapped people are being plunged further into debt by the temptation of quick and easy loans they will struggle to pay back.

The Nairn campaign is backed by Fergus Ewing MSP, who will be at the official launch on Friday, and it’s hoped that other Scottish football clubs may get involved.

He said: “The Scottish Government is concerned about the negative impact some payday and other high interest lending can have on some individuals and is committed to working with partners to raise awareness of the range of alternatives available.  Initiatives like this should go some way to encouraging individuals to take control of their loan and to seek help and advice when facing financial difficulties. 

“It’s great to see a wee Scottish team like Nairn County on the side of the good guys.  The Scottish Government will continue to engage with stakeholders from the money advice sector, credit unions, trading standards and the pay day lending sector to discuss specific concerns relating to pay day lending and identify how we can tackle these issues.”

At Saturday’s match between Nairn Country and Clachnacuddin, adverts in the match programme will offer fans advice on how to fight any debt incurred from a payday loan and “win extra time” by arranging a repayment plan.  According to CAB, more than 100 Scots contact the service each week because they are in a payday lender debt crisis, a figure CAB said is a third higher than it was this time last year.

Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Margaret Lynch said: “People across Scotland who find themselves saddled with payday loan debt need to know that help is at hand.  We can show them how to fight back and take control of their debt, as this campaign says.

“It’s a terrific campaign, and I think it will make a real difference to people’s lives – especially those who are experiencing the misery of crisis debt.  I hope other football clubs across Scotland will follow Nairn County’s example, and work with us to spread the word to their fans.”

Earlier this year, the Office of Fair Trading warned that irresponsible lending was widespread in the payday loan industry. The OFT estimates that payday lenders could be lending as much as £1.8bn per year and the Public Accounts Committee estimates that around two million people in the UK are using payday loans.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has criticised Britain’s “Wonga economy” and said lenders were creating a “quiet crisis” for individuals and families who could not pay back their debts.