The decision by the Government and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ignore calls for a ban on payday loan advert being aired on children’s TV has been described as a “slippery slope to the normalisation of payday loans for future generations”.
The comments came from Labour’s candidate for Redcar, Anna Turley, who highlighted figures from broadcast regulator Ofcom that showed children aged 4-15 saw 596 million payday loan adverts in 2012, up from three million in 2008. This meant the average child saw 70 payday loan adverts. With lenders in the sector often charging exploitative interest rates in excess of 5,000% APR, costs quickly add up if a repayment is missed and can lead to serious financial problems.
“Now that it looks unlikely that the Government will take this simple action to protect children from an industry that is not above using imagery that could easily leave a lasting impression on a child. We’ve seen this through the use of cartoons, puppets and other animated characters to sell their product.
“It’s a slippery slope to the normalisation of payday loans if they are presented to children in such an entertaining and dubious way. We don't allow gambling firms to advertise during children's TV and we don't allow junk food to be advertised during children's TV, we shouldn't allow it for payday lenders either. The Government are completely misguided if they think allowing such practices doesn’t pose a very serious problem.
“I am pleased that Labour has been putting pressure on the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) to draw up codes regulating adverts in the same way as gambling and to match restrictions on alcohol advertising aimed at children. But if they fail to do that, then we will legislate for it should we win the General Election next year.”