The battle isn't won, of course. A cap on the cost of credit is just one of many changes that need to be made, and we have yet to hear what that cap will be or how it will be set. But for those of us who've been making these arguments for months, and for those of us who've laid awake at night worrying about debt, today is a monumental day.
Apart from maybe the big six energy companies, I don't know any type of business which gets more bad press than payday loan companies. Anyone you speak to - in the pub, on the school run or in the office - has an extremely negative view of them, yet as much as £1.8 billion is being lent a year by payday loan companies and some (yes you Wonga!) have interest rates as high as 5,853% APR. Disgraceful!
With Christmas just around the corner, it's that time of year when statistics emerge to tell us how many people will fund their annual festivities with some form of short-term credit. This year, the Government-backed Money Advice Service has said that over a million people are considering using a payday loan to fund Christmas; a worrying indication of how deeply ingrained this form of high-cost credit has become in British life.
This week's announcement that a future Labour Government would not only cap the total cost of credit but also introduce a new levy on payday loan companies in order to provide greater support to credit unions is great news and a testament to the hard campaigning of Co-operative Party representatives - like Stella Creasy MP and Kezia Dugdale MSP - and activists up and down the country. Credit unions are a great example of the difference that co-operative solutions can make.
Payday Loans have become a hot topic and a regular feature in the British press week in, week out. The market has grown significantly and although the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) have no official figures on exactly how much the sector is worth it estimated it at around £900 million in 2008 with Consumer Focus estimating the total value of loans made in 2009 at £1.2 billion.