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A Red Card for Wonga – background

The Football Association is responsible for the regulation of football and currently bans alcohol and gambling advertisements on club merchandise for children. According to the FA, this ban is designed to protect the ‘welfare, health or general wellbeing’ of young people.

Wonga’s earnings after tax increased from £12.4m to £45.8m in 2011 – with revenues of £184.7m. Wonga provided almost 2.5 million loans last year, which was four times the number it did in 2010.

Last year the payday loan sector in Britain was worth £1.7bn, a fivefold increase in the last few years. Research by R3 predicts nearly 4 million people will take out a payday loan in the next six months alone. The APR for payday lenders can begin at 444% and can escalate to 16,500% or more. And home credit lenders, who make home visits in order to collect repayments for their short-term loans, can charge £82 in interest and collection charges for every £100 lent.

One in ten UK payday customers have incomes of less than £11,100 per year and 46% have incomes of less than £15,500 a year.
Research by WHICH? Showed that over 60% of people who took out payday loans were using the money to pay for household bills or buying other essentials like food, nappies and petrol.

Payplan, a debt charity company, says that 47% of its clients had six or more payday loans in the last year alone. More than half of the people going to Payplan for debt advice owed more than £500 to these companies, and 61% had more than one at a time. Most crucially, 86% of its clients were using the loans for basics—food, transport and the basic costs of everyday living, not luxuries.
The Red Card for Wonga campaign is part of Sharkstoppers- a coalition of campaigners across the UK seeking to cap the costs of credit and bring in a real time register for credit. They have been campaigning at football grounds across the country to urge football clubs to refuse to work with legal loan sharks until the industry is properly regulated.

Stella Creasy MP began the Sharkstoppers campaign when she was elected in 2010 and has been seeking to table legislation to cap the costs of credit. At present the Government has refused to back these measures.

For more details on the campaign to tackle legal loan sharking in the UK visit Stella Creasy MP’s website www.workingforwalthamstow.org.uk ; or call 020 8521 1223.