Payday loans spark Bucks County Council row

BCC Cllr Avril Davies
BCC Cllr Avril Davies

Conservatives have been accused of ‘playing politics’ over Bucks County Council’s response to payday loan companies.

Liberal Democrats at the authority were furious that Tories refused to back a motion calling on the council to do more to look at the impact of the controversial loans on vulnerable people.

Defending the stance, Tory Councillor Martin Phillips said the authority is already doing a great deal.

But Lib Dem group leader Avril Davies said Tories were ‘kicking the problem to other people’ to deal with after blocking her party’s motion and instead agreeing to contact Westminster about the issue.

It comes as the Government announced it is to cap the cost of payday loans.

Mrs Davies said: “It is with delight that we received the news that the Government are to propose a ceiling on interest rates for pay day loans.

“It seems they are light years ahead of their cousins in Bucks in realising the impact these lenders are having on hundreds of families all over the country.”

Responding to criticism from Lib Dems at a council meeting last week, Mr Phillips said: “I’m asking our colleagues at Westminster to take it further.

“I’m doing everything in the power of this council.”

One step the council is taking is to block access to payday loan companies’ websites through computers owned by the authority. This would include computers in council-owned areas such as libraries.

But Lib Dems said such steps were just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of what needed to be done to help protect people further.

Councillor Steven Lambert, Lib Dem, said: “I hope behind the scenes we can work further to see what else we can do.”