Councillors ban access to loan websites

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Payday loan websites have been blocked in council owned buildings across the county.

Northumberland County Council backed a motion put foreward by Cramlington councillor Laura Pidcock, to block the websites on public computers.

Councillors unanimously agreed an amended motion at its council meeting on Wednesday, which will now see blocks put on computers in council libraries, workplaces and other authority buildings.

Coun Laura Pidcock said: “When people need money quick, applying for a pay day loan is sometimes the only option for people in a desperate situation.

“As cuts from the national government are impacting disproportionately on those who have the least, people are having to accept extremely high interest rates with often crushing consequences.

“As a council we have to do all that we can to protect people in Northumberland from these pay day lenders.

“We need to try and shield the national cuts from the most disadvantaged and promote access to money and debt advice.”

The council will also investigate the use of planning law to regulate the growth and spread of such companies.

The amendment, tabled by the leader of the Conservative opposition group Peter Jackson, stated that those looking for payday loan websites on a council computer should be automatically directed to information about credit unions, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and government advice sites.