Payday loan websites banned from council computers
INTERNET access to payday lenders has been blocked from public computers in Bolton.
The Bolton News reported in July how the authority was considering blocking access to the sites from all of its computers, including in its libraries.
The issue was raised at a meeting of full council by Conservative Bromley Cross councillor, Norman Critchley, who branded the payday loan industry “wicked” and called on Bolton to follow the lead of other authorities such as Cheshire East in blocking web access.
Cllr Cliff Morris revealed the council was already looking into the idea as part of its new £1 million anti-poverty strategy being developed by Breightmet councillor Kate Lewis.
The policy has now been brought into force, meaning visitors to libraries or who use other public computers, such as those at council-run community centres, will no longer be able to access the sites.
Cllr Lewis said: “This move sends a clear message that Bolton Council is actively trying to protect financially vulnerable people and discourage the use of high cost pay day lenders.
“Although a payday loan might seem like a quick and easy short-term solution, more often than not they result in spiralling debt that can become impossible to manage.
“The number of people turning to payday lenders is an ever increasing problem, especially in northern working class towns like ours, which have been hit particularly badly by the recession.
“Although blocking access to these websites does not address the underlying, deep rooted issues which push people towards pay day lenders, it is part of the council's wider anti-poverty strategy which is currently being developed.”
Cllr Critchley welcomed the move.
He said: “I’m delighted, I was a bit worried because I hadn’t heard anything.
“It’s good news, it’s happening in a lot of towns and I think it’ll happen more and more and that can only be a good thing.”
Both Cllrs Lewis and Critchley urged anyone looking for a loan to contact the borough’s credit union Hoot in Ashburner Street on 01204 365 024.
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