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I watched an interesting programme on TV tonight called "Young, British and Broke" and to be honest it's something I've heard about, but I didn't really know anything about. Payday loans, you know... Wonga and companies like that. You've heard the adverts on the radio, seen them in the newspaper and there's been a crackdown on them but I felt very angry after watching this programme.
These payday loan companies are not good for the people that take out the loans and they're certainly not good for the country as a whole in my opinion. At the very least, when people pay back the money they owe they're paying a huge amount of interest and it's only lining the pockets of an unscrupulous company that just takes from society. For those that can't pay back and when they're debts spiral out of control the price is much higher. It's more than money, it's the fabric of this country, peoples' lives, families and at the end of the day these companies don't give a damn as long as they get their money! They don't care what you spend it on apparently, and even more worrying, they don't care whether or not 'worked' to earn it in the first place as they'll lend to people on the dole.
I've seen the argument for payday loan companies and that they provide a service lending money for a short period of time. They help people get by and that most people pay the money back on time. But personally, from what I saw in that programme I find none of this reassuring. One of the phrases I heard was "irresponsible lending" and whilst the high street banks aren't immune to that they certainly wouldn't take the risks that some of the Payday Loan companies are taking.
There's blame on both sides. These companies are preying on some vulnerable and desperate people, and at the same time there are people out there that just like spending money and will do whatever they need to do to get some - even if it means running up a massive debt that they can't possibly pay back. We are living in a culture of want everything, can't be bothered working hard to earn the stuff that we want. Yes - there are those out there who are genuinely struggling, but there are also a LOT of people out there who are just as happy to take from society. The TAKERS are the loan sharks (yes, that's what Payday Loan companies are) and the lazy materialistic types who don't want to work and use these companies to fund their lifestyle.
Loan sharks (much better term) ARE having an affect on this country and they need to be stamped out, not just regulated. I think that they should not be allowed to continue in any way, shape or form and that government policy and guidelines don't go far enough to regulate them. According to the programme I watched nearly half of them were still happy to offer loans to individuals who had no real means to to pay back the money and they still didn't care what it was needed for. By the way, tax credits and job seekers allowance isn't a valid income as far as I'm concerned, because I'm effectively paying for YOUR misguided financial decisions here! And that's actually part of the issue here come to think of it. Taxpayers are essentially funding these companies. How ridiculous is that?
Three words: Shut them down!