Sheffield MP joins forces with church in war on rip-off pay-day lenders

Paul Blomfield with his bill to regulate payday lenders
Paul Blomfield with his bill to regulate payday lenders
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The campaign against ‘pay-day’ money lenders ripping off some of Sheffield’s most vulnerable people is gathering momentum.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield has promised to work with religious leaders in the city to prevent companies leaving vulnerable people drowning in debt.

It comes after the Archbishop of Canterbury accused online lender Wonga of leading people into more debt - and announced plans for the church to compete against it.

Former banker Justin Welby wants to expand a network of credit unions working for the community.

Mr Blomfield, who has won cross-party support for a private member’s bill which would properly regulate lenders and stop their worst rip-off practices, is now keen to collaborate with local churches and religious groups in a bid to offer desperate people a safer alternative to lenders who can charge a representative APR of more than 5,000 per cent for instant cash.

He said: “The Archbishop’s comments on tackling rip-off payday money lenders are extremely welcome.

“My High Cost Credit Bill regulating pay-day lenders is only part of the answer, we also need to develop accessible alternatives to the extortionate loans which are too often the only option for people who need credit.

“The church’s initiatives for supporting credit unions are a bold and radical step that could significantly shift the credit market away from pay-day lenders.

“I’m in conversation with church leaders in my constituency about how we can provide practical support for people who are caught in a spiral of debt and the Archbishop’s plans are something I’m keen to explore with them.”

Sheffield’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau’s debt advice service has also thrown its weight behind the bill.