Borough advert ban to drive out loan sharks

Photo: David Hurst'Chorley Council Leader Alistair Bradley

Photo: David Hurst'Chorley Council Leader Alistair Bradley

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Chorley Council has joined in the fight to force loan shark companies out of business, in a bid to protect its residents from spiralling into unmanageable debt.

The council wants to ban adverts from payday loan firms on the advertising sites it owns across the borough, because it doesn’t want to encourage people to take out loans they will struggle to pay back.

It is also opening a new shop in Chorley town centre to offer local people, who are struggling to make ends meet, an alternative to turning to the loan sharks and payday loan companies.

Chorley Council’s leader, Coun Alistair Bradley, said: “There are hard working people in Chorley who are finding it difficult to get by during this economic downturn and credit unions can offer a safe place to save and get low-cost loans without having to pay extortionate interest charges.

“It’s like a bank but better because it’s owned by its members, for its members, and it offers loans, savings and financial advice services – all with no fees or hidden charges.”

The council has joined forces with Unify Credit Union, which was established back in 2002 and is Wigan’s largest financial co-operative, to open the shop at 29 Market Street on August 5.

Unify Credit Union has been operating for just a few hours a week in the council’s Union Street offices for the past few months, and has already attracted more than 300 members.

But the council is keen to increase the numbers of people taking advantage of the service, and so has supported the opening of the shop on Market Street that will become self-sufficient after three years.

Coun Bradley added: “Strengthening the local economy is one of our key priorities and one way we can do this is by helping people to manage their money better.

“We don’t want them feeling as though they have to turn to loan sharks or payday loan companies because they’ll end up paying exorbitant interest charges.

“In fact, we are also looking at banning adverts from such companies from our advertising sites across the borough, because we don’t think it is right that people are encouraged to take loans they will struggle to pay back.”

The shop will be open six days a week from 10am to 4pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 10am to 1pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays.