Payday loan sites action

ACCESS to payday loan websites on all Northumberland County Council computers has been blocked following a vote by councillors.

Residents will be unable to use them on machines in libraries and other buildings run by the authority across the area.

This action follows support for a motion raised by Coun Laura Pidcock, who is concerned about the impact this type of lending can have on local communities.

She said: “The rising cost of living and falling income is causing genuine problems for people and their finances, which often pushes them into using such companies where the interest rates are punishing and leave many unable to make the repayments.

“As a council, we will block access to payday loan websites through public and employee computers across all council buildings in Northumberland, unless and until the industry, including its advertising practices, is effectively controlled.”

The council has also pledged to investigate the use of planning law to regulate the growth and spread of payday loan companies and pay-weekly furniture providers.

Leader of the authority, Grant Davey, said: “This action helps us to prevent people from taking out high-interest loans from companies that fail to check that they can repay the loan.

“We are also committed to supporting recognised credit unions within the county as a sustainable alternative to high-cost, short-term credit and so any search for payday loan websites through council systems will automatically be diverted to information about such credit unions, along with contact details for citizens advice bureaux and the government website www.moneyadvice.org.uk