Nick Smith MP Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent
Nick Smith MP has branded payday loan giants Wonga as “parasitic” after the Government admitted the company’s conduct had been disgraceful.
The Blaenau Gwent MP has been campaigning on the dangers of pay day loans since obtaining data from Wonga last year, which showed people in Blaenau Gwent borrowed more than £1m a year from the company.
With the news that the company had been sending threatening letters from fake law firms to 45,000 of its customers, Mr Smith tried to secure an urgent debate on the “payday lender parasites”.
In response, Leader of the House Andrew Lansley could only say they would have to wait on Ministers’ views on the case, but agreed their actions were “disgraceful”.
Mr Smith is now writing to Wonga after the company has so far ignored his requests for this year’s figures.
He said: “The news of Wonga being forced to pay £2.6m in compensation for these disgusting business practices is little comfort compared to the misery they have caused.
“The big companies at the top of the payday loan market like to champion themselves as transparent businesses who empower their customers.
“But it brings the system into question when they are willing to claim their money back by intimidating tactics such as letters from non-existent law firms.
“This is why I took to the streets last year and encouraged people facing debt to look into socially responsible services such as the local credit union.
“Yes, we need real drives for everything from real financial education from our youngsters to this Government waking up and working to spread the economic growth across Britain.
“But until then, and until wages stop their fall in real terms, people need help to cope with everything life throws at them.
“This is why Wonga should take a long hard look at themselves and start to live up to their claims that they can be a solution, not part of this problem in society.”