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Haringey Borough Council invests £20,000 in payday lending firms
Haringey Borough Council’s ambitions to take a firm stance against payday loan companies have been undermined by the revelation pension funds have been invested in them.
Haringey’s Liberal Democrat party has revealed the Labour-run authority’s pension fund managers provided two controversial money-lending firms with £20,000.
Finance portfolio holder Councillor Joe Goldberg has previously spoken out against such companies, stating such firms were “not welcome” in Haringey.
But after discovering what was happening behind-the-scenes of the council this week, he has vowed to continue encouraging people to shun payday lenders.
He said: “I am extremely angry to find out the independent pension fund managers have made indirect investments in payday loan companies.
“This does not change the fact we are determined to make it hard for the likes of Wonga and other payday loan companies to operate in our borough, and why are have invested more than a quarter of a million pounds in the local credit union, which offers families and hard-working individuals an affordable alternative.”
The council has now been branded “hypocritical” by the Liberal Democrats, as just weeks ago council bosses announced a ban on employees accessing payday loan websites from the council’s servers.
Earlier this year, the authority backed the Haringey, Islington and City Credit Union - a not-for-profit scheme that gives low cost loans to more than 4,000 people in the area.
Many payday loan firms opened up shop in Haringey earlier this year, often charging cash-strapped people up to 3,000 per cent in interest.
The Liberal Democrats are now urging people to use the Haringey, Islington and City Credit Union instead of such companies to avoid sinking into even deeper debt.
Lib Dem finance spokesman Cllr Paul Strang said: “The fact that the Labour council has invested in not one but two payday loan companies when just weeks ago they were announcing an IT ban on payday loan websites shows their hypocrisy.
“If they really thought that payday loan companies were so bad for vulnerable people, why on earth have they invested part of their pension fund in them?
“Rather than cheap stunts banning access to the payday loan websites they should make sure no money from the council goes to these companies in the future and that the local credit union gets all the support they need as they provide a good alternative to payday loan companies.”
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