Debt on our Doorstep, the UK’s campaign for fair and responsible financial services, today called on TV personality Graham Norton not to endorse the behaviour of lenders charging over 1,000% APR.
Norton, who is due to host the Credit Today Magazine annual awards ceremony at the Grosvenor Hotel, has previously associated himself with campaigns for the elimination of international debt.
But at the Credit Awards ceremony he is due to present an award for ‘home credit lender of the year’ – the home credit industry was found last year to be making excess profits of £75 million per year following a lengthy competition commission inquiry.
The three short-listed companies for the award are Bristol Finance & Credit Services, which campaigners say charges 1,068% APR on a loan of £100 paid back over just 14 weeks; Shopacheck, the subject of a BBC TV undercover report in 2004, which revealed methods used to exploit low income residents on Brighton’s Whitehawk estate and SD Taylor, last year’s winner of the award.
Commenting on the awards ceremony, Damon Gibbons, Chair of Debt on our Doorstep said: “There shouldn’t be any place at an awards ceremony for any of these lenders. They rip off the poorest, keep them in a cycle of increasing debt, and degenerate entire communities. Why should they be praised for that? We hope Graham will snub them at the ceremony by refusing to host this part of the ceremony, and make a public statement to that effect.”
Debt on our Doorstep also called for the Government to levy a windfall tax on the industry to recover the £350 million of excess profits made by lenders over the past 5 years and for this to be invested in credit union development and debt advice services.
Debt on our Doorstep is an alliance of over a hundred non governmental agencies including the National Housing Federation, Oxfam, Help the Aged, Church Action on Poverty and many local debt advice, credit unions, and community groups that are campaigning for action against extortionate lending and for fair financial services.