Council to block online payday lenders

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Payday loan companies will have their websites blocked by councils after they were accused of irresponsible lending to vulnerable people.

Wakefield Council has teamed up with Bradford, Leeds, Calderdale, Kirklees and York local authorities to block access to 200 payday loan websites from council computer terminals, including in libraries and customer contact centres.

Anyone who tries to access one of the websites will be redirected to an information page on debt advice and sources of affordable credit.

The block was announced after the Office of Fair Trading referred the entire payday lending industry to the Competition Commission over concerns of the impact of high-interest borrowing on vulnerable people.

Wakefield Council leader Peter Box said: “People who are turning to payday loan companies are desperate. The loans they take out, often without any proof they can make the repayments, force them into a spiral of debt.

“We have to take action and do what we can to protect people and re-direct them to where they can get help and advice.

“By acting together, councils in West Yorkshire can have more impact, help more people and make a very clear statement that these companies should be subject to greater control.”