Simon Read: Union, students and mums take on payday lenders


The country's biggest union Unite, this week launched a new credit union service, which it says it hopes will offer members finance without fear.

The service is open to all 1.4 million Unite members in England, Scotland and Wales and uses a network of 14 existing credit unions.

It means that the trade union's members can link up with a credit union that is already established in their region when they need help with their finances, rather than being forced into the arms of rip-off payday lenders, with interest charges topping 5,000 per cent APR.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "The new credit union service helps keep our members out of the clutches of parasitic lenders."

Moves that help people avoid being tempted into taking rip-off loans they can't afford are pleasing. So I also welcome the University of Bedfordshire to the growing list of universities around the country that has banned payday lender advertising from campus.

Bedfordshire has agreed to ban all advertising from payday lenders on the University's and Student's Union's sites, websites and publications, joining the likes of Keele University, University of Sheffield and Swansea University, which are already supporting the National Union of Student's Shark-free zones campaign.

I was also pleased to read this week about a group of mums in Swansea who have mounted a campaign against irresponsible doorstep lenders which led them to last month's Labour Party conference where they secured a pledge from the politicians to put a cap on the cost of credit.

At last it seems the net of justice is closing on irresponsible lenders.

Twitter: @simonnread