Derek is backing a new e-petition calling on the Government to intervene in the high-cost market before legal loan sharks are able to take advantage of cash-strapped consumers over the Christmas season.
Speaking after the petition's launch, Derek said:
"With Christmas approaching, residents in Halton are likely to come under increased financial pressure and many will be considering taking out high-cost, short term loans. I am determined that they should be protected from exploitation by the high-cost credit sector - that's why I'm signing a petition calling on the Government to introduce caps on the cost of credit before Christmas, and urging people in Halton to do the same.
In my constituency and across Britain, payday lenders and home credit providers are allowed to charge as much as they like for credit, often causing severe financial difficulties for their customers. But in mainland Europe and North America, consumers are protected from exploitation by regulations imposing caps on the amount that lenders can charge for credit. This petition calls on the Government to stop delaying action on this issue and ensure people can use these companies without fear of exploitation. Concerned residents in Halton should sign the petition as well, and forward the link to their friends."
The petition has been launched in the wake of new research from the Debt Advice Foundation which shows that 41% of those struggling with debt claim their financial problems are the result of high-interest or pay day lending. One in four people who take out a payday loan need the money to buy food or essentials for their household, with 44% using them to pay off their debts. In addition, Citizens Advice have recorded a fourfold increase in the numbers of people getting into debt problems as a result of borrowing from payday lenders in the space of just two years.
If the e-petition receives 100,000 signatures it will go before the Backbench Business Committee to be considered for a debate in the House of Commons. The petition can be found here:
"Back in January, I secured the first Adjournment Debate on the floor of the House for 2011, and I decided to speak on the issue of illegal loan sharking, on behalf of Carol Highton, whose son Brian Shields, from Runcorn, committed suicide on 3rd December 2005, aged just 22. The loan shark who victimised Mr Shields was jailed in 2009 for other related offences. Clearly the whole issue of loan sharking, legal and illegal, is a very pertinent one, and I am determined to support this campaign to ensure that no more lives are ruined by these activities."