Clampdown of people accessing pay day loans via Calderdale Council IT and more
A clampdown on people being able to access pay day loan companies on council-controlled IT is still in the offing, alongside debt advice and related issues councillors feel need tackling.
At July’s meeting of the full Calderdale Council it was agreed that rather than voting on Coun Mike Barnes’ (Lab, Skircoat) proposed motion, which included proposals to ask the Government to change aspects of financial policy, the task of formalising wording should be delegated to cross-party councillors as all parties had made suggestions which might be included.
But the authority’s Strategy and Performance Scrutiny Board heard Calderdale’s Conservatives had concerns about how the proposal was worded, said Board Chair Coun Ashley Evans (Lib Dem, Warley).
“We have to be careful we don’t make this too political or carried away by who said what,” he said.
Coun Evans said it had come to scrutiny and could tackle broader problems and he hoped it could be approached from that point of view.
Conservative group leader on the council, Coun Steven Leigh (Ryburn), said he did not wish it to become political either and agreed it should take in wider matters.
“I think this is a very complex problem and it is not just pay day loans – we wanted to set the bar higher than just that.
“A lot of problems are because of illegal lending which is far more pernicious,” he said.
Coun Leigh said he would be happy to meet cross-party to define terms of reference very quickly.
Coun Susan Press (Lab, Todmorden) asked who would be invited onto a working group – this was an issue she had been involved in when she held a Cabinet portfolio and it was close to her heart.
As issues were caused by poverty it was hard not to be political and councillors were discussing it in a week when National Insurance increases and Universal Credit cuts, which she believed would cause hardship, were in the public eye nationally, she said.
But Coun Leigh was right the issue should encompass more than pay day loans, said Coun Press.
Coun Barnes said he was not precious about the subject and it was right it was a cross-party issue and cross-party working often brought better results.
Councillors agreed to form a cross-party working group which will report back with suitably agreed terms of reference to shape policy.
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