Credit union £50,000 windfall approved by councillors

CREDIT BOOST: Councillor Heather Scott, leader of Darlington Conservatives

CREDIT BOOST: Councillor Heather Scott, leader of Darlington Conservatives

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter (Darlington)

COUNCILLORS have rubber-stamped a £50,000 grant for a North-East credit union as it continues to battle payday lenders and loan sharks.

Darlington Borough Council is giving the one-off windfall to Darlington Credit Union, to expand its provision of low-cost loans for hard-up members of the public.

The grant, announced by council leader Bill Dixon last week, was formally approved at a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Tuesday (April 29).

Councillor Andy Scott, cabinet member for health and partnerships, said the grant was from ring-fenced funding and comes directly from Central Government coffers, rather than being drawn from council reserves.

He said: “This grant will help make the credit union more accessible and an attractive alternative to payday loans and doorstep lenders that offer ridiculously high interest rates.

“The credit union is a credible alternative to these horrendous lenders.”

A report prepared for cabinet members highlighted an increase in the number of Darlington residents who are on a low income or claiming benefits.

It is estimated that, as of August last year, more than 8,700 16 to 64-year-olds in Darlington were on ‘out of work’ benefits.

As well as developing the existing low-cost loans scheme, the grant will also enable the credit union to provide a cheaper method for purchasing white goods than those offered by high street lenders.

Credit union chairman Tony Brockley has welcomed the windfall.

Conservative group leader Heather Scott was also in favour of the move, adding: “There has been some criticism that it was the council spending public money on this, which is not the case.

“We welcome this and I am pleased that we are able to help Darlington Credit Union, which is well worth supporting.”

Coun Heather Scott also addressed comments about the fact that the credit union has a presence in the new customer services centre at Darlington Town Hall.

She added: “We have to try to help people who are in difficult circumstances and for the credit union to have a facility within the town hall is ideal.”

Coun Chris McEwan, cabinet member for economy and regeneration, stressed that the credit union is also a safe place for people to invest their money.

He added: “I know quite a lot of people who are starting to save with them.”

Comments (7)

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8:58am Thu 1 May 14

Homshaw1 says...

It is public money and the council are spending it. Why don't the government cap the amount of interest the Pay Day loan companies charge rather than spend public money.

So the Credit Union gets free or low interest money and lends it out at over 20%, It is run by volunteers. So what are they spending the difference on?

I have no problem with the idea of Credit Unions and might even, on a voluntary basis, be prepared to put part of my savings into it but I object to being forced to pay taxes to pay for what other people see as their favourite projects
It is public money and the council are spending it. Why don't the government cap the amount of interest the Pay Day loan companies charge rather than spend public money. So the Credit Union gets free or low interest money and lends it out at over 20%, It is run by volunteers. So what are they spending the difference on? I have no problem with the idea of Credit Unions and might even, on a voluntary basis, be prepared to put part of my savings into it but I object to being forced to pay taxes to pay for what other people see as their favourite projects Homshaw1
  • Score: 6

10:07am Thu 1 May 14

John Durham says...

Last week when this story broke I stated that the support of credit unions was not only government policy but that the government had set aside £38 million to assist them.
Others claimed this was a Labour council mis-using its powers. However, its clear now this had the support of the Tory leader on the council and that the government has funded this grant.
This is however one of those few areas which both major parties do seem to agree is worthwhile. And to those who object to public money being spent this way I would suggest it is the responsibility of all governments and local authorities to protect individuals from exploitation by unscrupulous sellers and the growth of credit unions to open up access to loans could be deemed a public protection issue (just like trading standards if you like).
No doubt the usual suspects will not agree.
Last week when this story broke I stated that the support of credit unions was not only government policy but that the government had set aside £38 million to assist them. Others claimed this was a Labour council mis-using its powers. However, its clear now this had the support of the Tory leader on the council and that the government has funded this grant. This is however one of those few areas which both major parties do seem to agree is worthwhile. And to those who object to public money being spent this way I would suggest it is the responsibility of all governments and local authorities to protect individuals from exploitation by unscrupulous sellers and the growth of credit unions to open up access to loans could be deemed a public protection issue (just like trading standards if you like). No doubt the usual suspects will not agree. John Durham
  • Score: 1

12:49pm Thu 1 May 14

Homshaw1 says...

I would have thought the way to control pay day loans is to introduce legislation to control the way they operate the same as they have done with bookies and gambling machines. Even trading standards don't set up companies offering a more competitive service to combat dubious traders.

As for your derogatory reference to "usual suspects" other people are entitled to an opinion. Your are not the fountain of all that is right and proper.
I would have thought the way to control pay day loans is to introduce legislation to control the way they operate the same as they have done with bookies and gambling machines. Even trading standards don't set up companies offering a more competitive service to combat dubious traders. As for your derogatory reference to "usual suspects" other people are entitled to an opinion. Your are not the fountain of all that is right and proper. Homshaw1
  • Score: 3

5:08pm Thu 1 May 14

John Durham says...

Homshaw1 wrote:
I would have thought the way to control pay day loans is to introduce legislation to control the way they operate the same as they have done with bookies and gambling machines. Even trading standards don't set up companies offering a more competitive service to combat dubious traders.

As for your derogatory reference to "usual suspects" other people are entitled to an opinion. Your are not the fountain of all that is right and proper.
No need to get paranoid - I wasn't referring to you or anyone else specifically - but there will always be those who have particular views on government protectionism here and we all know who those regularly are.
Certainly you are wrong to imply that I was making a value judgement on either my own or their opinions.
This policy isn't necessarily geared at controlling pay-day loans either but at providing a safer way to save and borrow and protect those who may get hooked into taking out bigger and bigger amounts of debt with loan sharks.
We have all seen stories in the news about how people have ended losing thousands with spiralling 'unseen' interest rates. Of course, people should be aware of the dangers in the first place but sadly this isn't always the case.
[quote][p][bold]Homshaw1[/bold] wrote: I would have thought the way to control pay day loans is to introduce legislation to control the way they operate the same as they have done with bookies and gambling machines. Even trading standards don't set up companies offering a more competitive service to combat dubious traders. As for your derogatory reference to "usual suspects" other people are entitled to an opinion. Your are not the fountain of all that is right and proper.[/p][/quote]No need to get paranoid - I wasn't referring to you or anyone else specifically - but there will always be those who have particular views on government protectionism here and we all know who those regularly are. Certainly you are wrong to imply that I was making a value judgement on either my own or their opinions. This policy isn't necessarily geared at controlling pay-day loans either but at providing a safer way to save and borrow and protect those who may get hooked into taking out bigger and bigger amounts of debt with loan sharks. We have all seen stories in the news about how people have ended losing thousands with spiralling 'unseen' interest rates. Of course, people should be aware of the dangers in the first place but sadly this isn't always the case. John Durham
  • Score: 1

5:56pm Thu 1 May 14

Homshaw1 says...

John Durham wrote:
Homshaw1 wrote: I would have thought the way to control pay day loans is to introduce legislation to control the way they operate the same as they have done with bookies and gambling machines. Even trading standards don't set up companies offering a more competitive service to combat dubious traders. As for your derogatory reference to "usual suspects" other people are entitled to an opinion. Your are not the fountain of all that is right and proper.
No need to get paranoid - I wasn't referring to you or anyone else specifically - but there will always be those who have particular views on government protectionism here and we all know who those regularly are. Certainly you are wrong to imply that I was making a value judgement on either my own or their opinions. This policy isn't necessarily geared at controlling pay-day loans either but at providing a safer way to save and borrow and protect those who may get hooked into taking out bigger and bigger amounts of debt with loan sharks. We have all seen stories in the news about how people have ended losing thousands with spiralling 'unseen' interest rates. Of course, people should be aware of the dangers in the first place but sadly this isn't always the case.
Why did you feel it was necessary to mention there might be people with a different opinion. It sounded as if you knew there would be but weren't prepared to tolerate their argument.

Isn't it easier to restrict lending above base rate plus 15% or whatever and introduce stricter criteria lending criteria? As for Loan Sharks there will always be gullible people who in some way will be taken advantage of. This will not stop it.

I was not attacking DBC on this occasion. In fact if someone offered them £50K they would be stupid not to take it.

Should the goverment be taking money from tax payers for this purpose? I would say not. If an individual wants to use his money in this way fine. I might prefer to give it to a children's charity, Oxfam or whatever. The choice should be mine
[quote][p][bold]John Durham[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Homshaw1[/bold] wrote: I would have thought the way to control pay day loans is to introduce legislation to control the way they operate the same as they have done with bookies and gambling machines. Even trading standards don't set up companies offering a more competitive service to combat dubious traders. As for your derogatory reference to "usual suspects" other people are entitled to an opinion. Your are not the fountain of all that is right and proper.[/p][/quote]No need to get paranoid - I wasn't referring to you or anyone else specifically - but there will always be those who have particular views on government protectionism here and we all know who those regularly are. Certainly you are wrong to imply that I was making a value judgement on either my own or their opinions. This policy isn't necessarily geared at controlling pay-day loans either but at providing a safer way to save and borrow and protect those who may get hooked into taking out bigger and bigger amounts of debt with loan sharks. We have all seen stories in the news about how people have ended losing thousands with spiralling 'unseen' interest rates. Of course, people should be aware of the dangers in the first place but sadly this isn't always the case.[/p][/quote]Why did you feel it was necessary to mention there might be people with a different opinion. It sounded as if you knew there would be but weren't prepared to tolerate their argument. Isn't it easier to restrict lending above base rate plus 15% or whatever and introduce stricter criteria lending criteria? As for Loan Sharks there will always be gullible people who in some way will be taken advantage of. This will not stop it. I was not attacking DBC on this occasion. In fact if someone offered them £50K they would be stupid not to take it. Should the goverment be taking money from tax payers for this purpose? I would say not. If an individual wants to use his money in this way fine. I might prefer to give it to a children's charity, Oxfam or whatever. The choice should be mine Homshaw1
  • Score: 0

8:58pm Thu 1 May 14

John Durham says...

Homshaw1 wrote:
John Durham wrote:
Homshaw1 wrote: I would have thought the way to control pay day loans is to introduce legislation to control the way they operate the same as they have done with bookies and gambling machines. Even trading standards don't set up companies offering a more competitive service to combat dubious traders. As for your derogatory reference to "usual suspects" other people are entitled to an opinion. Your are not the fountain of all that is right and proper.
No need to get paranoid - I wasn't referring to you or anyone else specifically - but there will always be those who have particular views on government protectionism here and we all know who those regularly are. Certainly you are wrong to imply that I was making a value judgement on either my own or their opinions. This policy isn't necessarily geared at controlling pay-day loans either but at providing a safer way to save and borrow and protect those who may get hooked into taking out bigger and bigger amounts of debt with loan sharks. We have all seen stories in the news about how people have ended losing thousands with spiralling 'unseen' interest rates. Of course, people should be aware of the dangers in the first place but sadly this isn't always the case.
Why did you feel it was necessary to mention there might be people with a different opinion. It sounded as if you knew there would be but weren't prepared to tolerate their argument.

Isn't it easier to restrict lending above base rate plus 15% or whatever and introduce stricter criteria lending criteria? As for Loan Sharks there will always be gullible people who in some way will be taken advantage of. This will not stop it.

I was not attacking DBC on this occasion. In fact if someone offered them £50K they would be stupid not to take it.

Should the goverment be taking money from tax payers for this purpose? I would say not. If an individual wants to use his money in this way fine. I might prefer to give it to a children's charity, Oxfam or whatever. The choice should be mine
Often there are many people on here with a different opinion to mine - they are entitled to their opinions and I was in no way saying mine was the only opinion of value. Nor did I say the last line in any derogatory sense - though somehow you have taken it as such.
Since I joined this site in January I have some idea of the general views of those who comment regularly and quite a lot of them believe in 'small government' so I expected them to disagree with my opinion that this was a good thing for governments to be involved in.
I have not in the past seen too many of your comments so did not intend 'usual suspects' to include you nor was it intended to denigrate them if they did comment.
[quote][p][bold]Homshaw1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]John Durham[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Homshaw1[/bold] wrote: I would have thought the way to control pay day loans is to introduce legislation to control the way they operate the same as they have done with bookies and gambling machines. Even trading standards don't set up companies offering a more competitive service to combat dubious traders. As for your derogatory reference to "usual suspects" other people are entitled to an opinion. Your are not the fountain of all that is right and proper.[/p][/quote]No need to get paranoid - I wasn't referring to you or anyone else specifically - but there will always be those who have particular views on government protectionism here and we all know who those regularly are. Certainly you are wrong to imply that I was making a value judgement on either my own or their opinions. This policy isn't necessarily geared at controlling pay-day loans either but at providing a safer way to save and borrow and protect those who may get hooked into taking out bigger and bigger amounts of debt with loan sharks. We have all seen stories in the news about how people have ended losing thousands with spiralling 'unseen' interest rates. Of course, people should be aware of the dangers in the first place but sadly this isn't always the case.[/p][/quote]Why did you feel it was necessary to mention there might be people with a different opinion. It sounded as if you knew there would be but weren't prepared to tolerate their argument. Isn't it easier to restrict lending above base rate plus 15% or whatever and introduce stricter criteria lending criteria? As for Loan Sharks there will always be gullible people who in some way will be taken advantage of. This will not stop it. I was not attacking DBC on this occasion. In fact if someone offered them £50K they would be stupid not to take it. Should the goverment be taking money from tax payers for this purpose? I would say not. If an individual wants to use his money in this way fine. I might prefer to give it to a children's charity, Oxfam or whatever. The choice should be mine[/p][/quote]Often there are many people on here with a different opinion to mine - they are entitled to their opinions and I was in no way saying mine was the only opinion of value. Nor did I say the last line in any derogatory sense - though somehow you have taken it as such. Since I joined this site in January I have some idea of the general views of those who comment regularly and quite a lot of them believe in 'small government' so I expected them to disagree with my opinion that this was a good thing for governments to be involved in. I have not in the past seen too many of your comments so did not intend 'usual suspects' to include you nor was it intended to denigrate them if they did comment. John Durham
  • Score: 0

8:34pm Sat 3 May 14

oliviaden6 says...

Gentlemen its something we in England are very Proud of ITS CALLED FREE SPEECH,I will go one further free speech is our right so were told but with councils we have NO FREE CHOICE?
Gentlemen its something we in England are very Proud of ITS CALLED FREE SPEECH,I will go one further free speech is our right so were told but with councils we have NO FREE CHOICE? oliviaden6
  • Score: -1

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