Five years ago, I was sitting in the living room of a young family in Stockton-on-Tees. There was a large television in the corner, turned off, and the children were watching a portable television on a chair in front of it. When I asked “What’s the matter with the big telly?”, the dad tapped his pockets and, shrugging, said “No money.”
Public concern with the damage caused by high-cost lending has never been greater. Poorer households have been hit hard since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. Wages have failed to keep pace with rising fuel, food and transport costs, and austerity measures, including both public spending cuts and welfare reforms, are taking the most from those that can least afford it. We are definitely not ‘all in this together’. In fact, for the high-cost lenders – home credit or door-to-door money-lenders, rent-to-own (‘RTO’) stores such as BrightHouse, pawnbrokers and payday lenders – this is boom time.
A former debt collector blows the whistle on the unscrupulous practices of high-cost lenders.