Opinion – Wonga is just a symptom of austerity Britain | Alex Andreou | Comment is free | theguardian.com – John Gelmini

Dr Alf and the Guardian make interesting points but the truth is that one person in six cannot get a UK bank account on standard credit terms and there is a vast gap between what banks charge for loans and the inadequate number of credit unions which exist.

Below the credit unions, there are firms, like Provident PLC and Greenstones, who use a weekly collection agency system to collect repayments and sell new loans.

Wonga and other payday lenders do the same thing but on a shorter term basis without weekly collections by an agent. Without these organisations many of the customers of these organisations would starve and or be evicted because they earn too little or get too little under their circumstances, which may include zero hours contracts, to live on.

The politicians deny this, by concealing the problem in bogus unemployment statistics and by allowing the High Street Clearing banks to go on effectively “red-lining” people, a practice which was outlawed 20 years ago but goes on in this new form.

Hidden hunger exists in the UK today, among ex-forces personnel who represent 50% of our “rough sleepers” and among the children of benefit recipients whose parents smoke, drink cheap beer, do not know how to cook, do not know how to budget and thus cannot live a life remotely resembling the sort of middle class existence that Dr Alf, Guardian reporters or even people like myself live.

WONGA can exist because too many people earn too little or nothing at all due to being “sanctioned ” by DWP staff or made to wait for benefit decisions for far longer than is reasonable.

Increasing, employment is the way to put WONGA and its like out of business but until this really happens WONGA under strict regulation needs to stay.

The European Commission cannot control its own finances and is run by economic incomptents so it should not be placed in charge of any Payday Lender.

Ultimately there is too much inequality in the UK with overabundance for a few and Dickensian pressure for those at the bottom.

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