MP asks Ant & Dec to ditch 'legal loan shark' Wonga
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities, Finance
MP asks Ant & Dec to ditch Wonga
A Labour politician has called on TV duo Ant and Dec to ditch a sponsorship deal with payday loan company Wonga.
Stella Creasy, who is MP for Walthamstow, has long campaigned for regulation of payday loan companies, and has called Wonga a "legal loan shark".
In a letter to Ant and Dec she writes that, "it's clear these firms are profiting from the struggle to make ends meet that many of your viewers will face".
Wonga, which charges up to 4,215% APR on its payday loans, has secured sponsorship rights to the new series of the TV presenters' forthcoming ITV show, Red or Black, of which they are the producers.
There have been many calls on the Government to regulate the payday loan industry.
However, Prime Minister David Cameron has thus far declined to regulate the industry. Mr Cameron is close friends with Adrian Beecroft - a venture capitalist who is chairman of Dawn Capital, which has a large stock in Wonga Group.
Ant and Dec are no strangers to controversy. The pair received critcism several years ago when it transpired that their shows had been encouraging viewers to ring expensive competition lines even though they had no chance of winning.
Despite being the producers of the shows, the former child actors denied any knowledge of the illicit activities that netted thousands of pounds in profits.
Creasy's letter in full:
Dear Ant and Dec,
I’m writing to express my concern about your new reported partnership with Wonga, the payday loan company, who will sponsor your forthcoming primetime tv show Red or Black on ITV.
As the executive producers of this show I would like to ask you to reconsider this relationship and speak out in favour of the campaign to end legal loan sharking in the UK to help secure better consumer protection for your viewers.
With research showing one in three payday loans being taken out to pay off other payday loans and the vast majority being used for basics such as food, transport and housing costs, its clear these firms are profiting from the struggle to make ends meet that many of your viewers will face.
Unlike most other countries, there is no limit on what you can charge for credit in the UK meaning companies like Wonga can profit by lending at an eye watering interest rate of 4212% to the millions of Britons who are in financial difficulties as the cost of living has risen, wages have been frozen or they have lost their jobs.
The campaign to end legal loan sharking is calling for caps on what can be charged for credit and a real time credit register to protect British consumers from the debts these companies acting in this way are creating for people across the country- so far the Government has refused to act to introduce these laws but I hope by speaking out against these practises you can play a valuable role in changing their mind. Until this industry has the regulation in place to protect British consumers please say Wonga is Wronga and don’t let them use your good name to promote legal loan sharking.