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#SaveBianca! Ask your MP to vote for the End Legal Loan Sharking Amendment

Co-operative MP Stella Creasy has tabled an amendment to the Financial Services Bill which has cross party support, including from Conservative MPs. This would give regulators powers to tackle the problems caused by legal loan sharking. Please help this become law by asking your MP to join us and vote for this amendment next Monday 23 April 2012.

The Financial Services Bill covers many issues including reforming the way banks are regulated and the creation of a new Financial Conduct Authority. Crucially the new FCA will also oversee consumer credit – and have the power to act against companies who offer ‘toxic’ financial products. This amendment to Clause 22 would give this new body specific powers to cap the charges firms make for credit.

Fines will only have a limited impact on an industry which is making millions lending money at astronomical rates of interest to British families given the demand for their services in our current economic climate; an industry where in last year alone one firm posted a pre-tax profit of £162m, and another paid its chief executive £1.6m. On the otherhand, capping their charges would send a strong signal about what costs of credit will be tolerated in the UK. It’s the first step towards securing industry-wide caps on the total costs of credit, and so giving British consumers the same protection from these loans that others around the world enjoy.

Below is a sample text to use to email your MP to ask them to support this amendment – you can find the contact details of your MP here. You can also help by tweeting about the campaign using the #savebianca hashtag in reference to the current Eastenders storyline on this subject!

Help us make a difference to the families in our communities struggling financially because of these companies by taking action – let’s together end legal loan sharking in Britain!

 

Suggested text to send to your local MP

Dear XXX
As one of your constituents I’d like to ask you to vote for the amendment to Clause 22 of the Financial Services Bill which will be debated on Monday 23 April. This amendment will help the fight against legal loan sharking in Britain. It has been tabled by Stella Creasy MP – and has support from MPs in different parties including the Conservatives – and would give the new financial regulators the ability to cap the excessive costs of credit. In an industry making so much money from lending to people in this way, fines will do little to curb their behaviour- one firm posted a pre-tax profit of £162m last year, and another paid its chief executive £1.6m. On the otherhand, giving the new regulator explicit powers to cap the charges they can set would send a strong message to this industry about the costs for loans that should be considered acceptable and the way they can treat British consumers. It could make a real difference to the millions across our country now struggling financially who are borrowing from these companies to make ends meet by encouraging firms to reduce their charges.
I know many MPs agree this industry is out of control in our high streets and online – I hope you will join with your colleagues in the fight to end legal loan sharking in Britain and I look forward to reading that you voted for this amendment.