Reality TV star and former bankrupt Kerry Katona this week became the first celebrity to accept money to promote expensive payday lenders.
The Atomic Kitten singer is the star of a new TV advert for a payday loan firm that targets women, and charges 2670 per cent APR for short-term credit. In the ad, Katona refers to her bankruptcy by saying: "We've all had money troubles – I know I have."
But MP Stella Creasey, who is leading a campaign to crack down on high-cost lenders that target vulnerable people, said: "It's sad to see someone who knows first-hand the misery of being in debt encouraging others to use legal loan sharks rather than credit unions when they need a loan.
"With the high interest charges, there's little wonder so many women get into problems borrowing from payday lenders, with debt charities reporting a surge in the number coming to them for help."
Gemma Johnson of the money-saving website MyFamilyClub also criticised the troubled star, who this week joined a reformed Atomic Kitten for a reality TV show, for accepting cash to promote the payday lender.
"It is shocking that Kerry Katona publicly backs a payday loan broker when there is strong evidence that their extortionate levels of interest can cause innocent families to slide into catastrophic levels of debt," she said. "We urge anyone tempted by these quick fixes to look into safer alternatives such as credit unions."