'No place for payday loans companies to operate in Swansea'
THERE is no place for payday loan companies in Swansea, according to a city leader.
Councillor Mitchell Theaker said he has heard alarming testimonies of city residents — often single mothers — struggling to meet repayments and then being hit with exorbitant charges when the loan was refinanced.
But the cabinet member for children and young people stressed there had to be viable alternatives.
Mr Theaker is launching a campaign in Swansea tomorrow to raise awareness about the issue.
"Some of the young mums have had in excess of 10 payday loans at the same time," he said. "One of them got a loan for Christmas presents for her daughter for a couple of hundred quid — then it went up to £2,000 (to pay back) in a couple of months."
He also said the tactics of some loan company representatives, who often faced pressures of their own, gave him cause for concern.
Mr Theaker said he accepted that taking out a payday loan was a matter of personal responsibility.
In his view there were better options around.
"I don't think there is any place for payday loan companies in Swansea, as long as the alternatives are strong enough," he said, adding: "I would not like to send people to loan sharks."
In his view, Welsh Government-backed Moneyline Cymru, a not-for-profit organisation, was a better option.
"They offer independent advice before you take out a loan," said Mr Mitchell, ward member for Cockett.
The launch of the Swansea Bay Fair Credit campaign brings together Bonymaen Young Mums, which Mr Mitchell said had been working with Assembly Members, and another city action group called Swansea Bay Fair Credit, which has raised awareness about organisations such as Swansea credit union Lasa (Loans and Savings Abertawe).
Tomorrow's campaign launch is from noon to 2pm at the National Waterfront Museum.