Paul Blomfield - Sheffield Central
07/03/12 21:32

PMQs: The Prime Minister must take action to protect people who are being overwhelmed by debt

Wednesday 7th March - At Prime Minister's Questions today I challenged David Cameron to take action to protect people who are being overwhelmed by debt and to tackle payday loan lenders. My question to David Cameron was:

"Today the Business Select Committee published a major report on consumer debt. Last November, R3 reported 60% of people were worried about debt, and 3.5 million were considering payday loans. In the year since the Government concluded its consultation on the issue, no action has been taken.

"Will the Prime Minister now commit to protect those families who are being overwhelmed by debt as a result of his policies - or will he confirm that he is simply out of touch with the financial reality facing ordinary families?" 

You can watch PMQs in full here. I challenged David Cameron on this issue because in these tough times an increasing number of vulnerable and desperate people are being overwhelmed by debt, and are turning to payday loan lenders with their obscene interest rates. Last year a Sheffield University study found that 40,000 people in the city are trapped in debt. David Cameron needs to take urgent action to stop the exploitation of vulnerable people by these 'wild west-style' operators. The Government consulted on this issue a year ago but nothing's happened since then, and today he completely failed to answer my question. 

We need an urgent clampdown on predatory payday loan providers. These companies prey on the most desperate people and encourage them to take out one loan after another. People get caught in their trap, taking out bigger loans to pay off obscene interest charges and the debt racks up. Then they fall victim to high-charging companies offering to manage their debt. This has to change.

In December I held a roundtable meeting with local debt advisers to discuss debt in Sheffield. The advisers do incredible work each year to help hundreds of people to deal with their debt, but there is too much uncertainty about the future of their service. The Government needs to act to provide a clear commitment on the future of face-to-face debt advice services. Losing these services would see less help and more problems for those people who are in debt.

Have you or anyone you know had experience of payday loan lenders? I'm always keen to find out your views so doget in touch to share your thoughts on my questions and on the issue of debt management. Email me or tweet me @paulblomfieldmp

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