Citizens Advice Scotland want to ban all Payday Loan adverts or sponsorship from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.
The Scottish CAB service now deals with over 100 cases every week of people who are in crisis debts to payday lenders, which often destroy their health and their relationships as well as their finances. As a result, CAS believes these sorts of loans should be seen in the same category as tobacco and alcohol, which are no longer allowed to sponsor sporting events.
We can reveal today that we have already written to the Games organisers on this issue and in their response they confirm that no such sponsorship deals are currently in place but that they are ‘unable to take a position on this issue’ for the future.
Commenting, CAS Head of Policy Susan McPhee said:
"Twenty years ago it was the norm for tobacco and alcohol companies to sponsor big sporting occasions. Today it is generally accepted that this is inappropriate and that products which have a damaging impact on people should be excluded from sponsoring such high-profile events. We believe that Payday Loans should be seen in this same category and banned from this year’s Games.
"Over the last few years we have published considerable evidence about the damage done by payday loan companies to CAB clients. Common problems include misleading adverts, massive interest rates, failure to assess applicants’ financial backgrounds, aggressive efforts to re-claim debts and trapping people in further debt through ‘roll-over’ loans. We don’t believe companies who operate like this have any place in a great sporting occasion.
"All Scots will remember how proud we were when Glasgow was awarded the Games, and we’re all looking forward to a brilliant summer hosting this gala of sporting excellence in our great city. That pride will be tainted if we see the city plastered in banner adverts for companies which trade in trapping families in misery and debt.
"I’m sorry that the organisers feel they are currently unable to take a position on this issue, but having opened the dialogue we will continue to engage with them and to press our case. There are plenty of other good companies out there whose money would be just as good, without advertising damaging products.
"We will also be in touch with ministers of both governments to ask for their support on this issue, and we urge others to back our campaign too. A poll by YouGov last week showed that 70% of people in the UK would support a total ban on all payday loan advertising. The trend of public opinion is clear, and the Glasgow Games has a unique opportunity here to set an example."
Notes to editors - click to expand/collapse
- CAS has published a number of reports recently which show the growing problems experienced by payday loan customers. Find them here.
- In our most recent report (link no longer available) we showed how the payday loans industry’s own attempt at self-regulation has failed and that most payday lenders in Scotland are continuing to operate in ways that trap families in cycles of debt they can’t afford.
- The UK government has announced it will introduce a cap on lending in 2015. CAS welcomes this, but we are concerned that high-profile advertising in the meantime will continue to attract many customers who will find it difficult to cope with the high interest rates and debt retrieval tactics of payday lenders.
- CAS urges all Scots to read the small print before entering into any debt arrangement, and to consider alternatives to payday loans. e.g. credit unions, which are more sympathetic to borrowers and whose loans are easier to re-pay.
- We also urge anyone who is in debt to contact the CAB service for free advice on debt management. You can contact your local CAB, or our national advice-line 0808 800 9060, or email firstname.lastname@example.org