Bishop crosses payday lenders with pre-watershed ad ban proposal

Daytime TV ads from payday lenders such as Wonga could soon be a thing of the past if plans under consideration in the House of Lords are implemented.

The changes, tabled by Church of England bishop, Rt Rev Timothy Thornton, would impose a restriction on the advertising of high-interest loans on TV and radio before the 9pm watershed to lessen their exposure to children who could be misled about the severity of debt.

The law amendment comes during a period of scrutiny for the firms which were imposed with an interest cap of 0.8 per cent in November. Rt Rev Timothy Thornton, who chairs the Children’s Society, tabled the suggestions to be implemented as part of the Consumer Rights Bill which is being discussed today.

The bill, issued jointly with Lord Alton and Lord Mitchell, read: “While many parents are struggling to pay the bills, payday loan adverts are making borrowing money seem easy and fun to their children.

“This is creating ‘pester’ pressure on parents to take out high-interest loans. As credit repayments take up a larger proportion of income, families can be pushed into problem debt and find themselves cutting back on essentials.”

It concluded: “We know that children living in families trapped by debt can suffer worry, anxiety and even bullying as a result of their family’s financial problems.”

The government previously dropped a similar motion to ban the ads during children’s TV slots in March.