Proposal to redirect computer users to alternative services to be considered next week

Council propose payday website block

Council propose payday website block

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter, covering Chingford, Highams Park and Woodford. Call me on 07795 476 625

Access to payday loan company websites could be blocked on all computers owned and managed by Redbridge council. 

The move, designed to encourage "responsible financial management", means any person using a public computer or staff using PCs to access sites such as Wonga or Quick Quid will be redirected to alternative services.   

The alternative page will include links to services including approved lender Liberty Credit Union, Citizen's Advice Bureau, council benefit support services and established food banks.    

Redbridge council said the change in policy, to be debated next week, will raise awareness of the lenders' high interest rates. 

Several other local authorities in London have taken steps to curtail access to payday websites, including Waltham Forest. 

The Labour-led administration implemented a block on high cost, short-term lenders last summer, but a political row between Labour and the Liberal Democrats erupted as to who suggested the move. 

Despite a block in place for several months, the Guardian managed to access eight of eleven short-term loan companies from a computer in Highams Park Library in December. 

Redbridge council leader Jas Athwal said the move was a "first step" to improving residents’ financial outlook.  

He said: "Despite the positive news about growth, more and more people are still feeling the impact of the high cost of living. 

"Many people turn to payday loan companies as a last resort – we need to let them know there are alternatives and work with partners to help residents who are struggling to improve their financial literacy. This is the first step in that process."

The proposal will be decided by cabinet members at the Policy and Resources Committee on September 2. 

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