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.
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.
This Friday, the High Cost Credit Bill returns to the House of Commons to resume its Second reading debate, following a Backbench Business debate on the same issue this Thursday. Unfortunately, due to the lack of Government support, there is a real risk that it will not be granted sufficient time for debate in this current parliamentary session.
Whilst many businesses struggle to survive in our fragile economy, payday lender Wonga is one of our few home grown success stories. Today they announced they are making more than £1m a week in profit- a 36% increase on last year. No one could begrudge a company that works hard to serve their customers and is rewarded for it. But money made in this industry comes at a heavy cost to our country.
Despite this posturing, the Church of England has no official position on fracking. Somehow, the Church of England has also managed to uncover a Book of Europe in their ever expanding bible. Attacking Cameron for exercising opt out of a fiscal union of Europe under Germany's economic command, they demanded a more 'constructive and positive approach'.