Labour and Liberal Democrats disagree over whether websites can be accessed from council-owner computers

This Is Local London: Waltham Forest Town Hall. Waltham Forest Town Hall.

A political row has broken out over whether payday loan websites should be accessed on council-owned computers.

At tonight’s full council meeting, the Liberal Democrats will put forward a motion calling for the websites of high cost, short-term lenders to be blocked on staff computers in those available to the public in libraries.

But the borough’s Labour group hit out at the proposal yesterday, accusing the Lib Dem's of being “out of touch” as the authority introduced a block on such sites in the summer.

“Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats should concentrate on holding their superiors in government to account for their role in creating an economy in which so many low-paid workers need to use payday lenders,” a Labour spokesman said.

But Lib Dem Councillor Bob Sullivan replied by saying that he managed to access various loan websites yesterday from Walthamstow Library.

“Labour seem to be under the bizarre impression that they’ve blocked access to all websites of payday lenders,” he said.

“I spent a grand total of three minutes in Walthamstow Library this afternoon, and within seconds I had visited several websites from payday lenders.

He said he could access Wonga’s website and various others by searching ‘payday loans’.

“If I can get to a button that says ‘Apply Now’ in less than a minute of searching then anyone can,” he added.

“Blocking the most high profile lenders and hoping nobody will notice the rest is not good enough. If Labour thinks this is a job well done then I shudder to think what other well done jobs are out there.”

The Guardian accessed the websites of eight of 11 high-cost, short-term loan companies tried in Highams Park library.

The Lib Dems say high cost loan companies are socially and economically damaging, a claim denied by the industry.

Labour say the council is investigating further ways of restricting access to payday lenders.

Comments (11)

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10:30am Thu 12 Dec 13

OngarRS says...

Glad that, in true Marxist style, WF have become moral guardians of the borough. They obviously know what is best for people. What's next?
Glad that, in true Marxist style, WF have become moral guardians of the borough. They obviously know what is best for people. What's next? OngarRS

10:33am Thu 12 Dec 13

Billy Yerache says...

Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats should concentrate on holding their superiors in government to account for their role in creating an economy in which so many low-paid workers need to use payday lenders,” a Labour spokesman said.

Will the 'Spokeman' also acknowledge that Labour Bankrupted the Country before the heavily and wrongly criticised Osbourne put the brakes on the spiral free fall? Will he also confirm that most of these depressing High Street establishments sprung up locally under the last labour Government?

Whilst the Loan Clubs and Unions play a part, these big firms take massive risks and lend to people that are highly unlikely to pay back.
Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats should concentrate on holding their superiors in government to account for their role in creating an economy in which so many low-paid workers need to use payday lenders,” a Labour spokesman said. Will the 'Spokeman' also acknowledge that Labour Bankrupted the Country before the heavily and wrongly criticised Osbourne put the brakes on the spiral free fall? Will he also confirm that most of these depressing High Street establishments sprung up locally under the last labour Government? Whilst the Loan Clubs and Unions play a part, these big firms take massive risks and lend to people that are highly unlikely to pay back. Billy Yerache

11:57am Thu 12 Dec 13

stickmanny says...

"Will the 'Spokeman' also acknowledge that Labour Bankrupted the Country "

No the 'Spokeman' won't do this because it is a lie. The guilty parties are the bankers, and neo-liberal economists whose job it was to notice that the world economy was being driven over a cliff.

Censoring the internet is pointless. Heavy regulation is the answer to the payday loans issue.
"Will the 'Spokeman' also acknowledge that Labour Bankrupted the Country " No the 'Spokeman' won't do this because it is a lie. The guilty parties are the bankers, and neo-liberal economists whose job it was to notice that the world economy was being driven over a cliff. Censoring the internet is pointless. Heavy regulation is the answer to the payday loans issue. stickmanny

3:42pm Thu 12 Dec 13

mdj says...

'the bankers, and neo-liberal economists whose job it was to notice that the world economy was being driven over a cliff.'

So it's OK if a government is driving while blindfolded? Whose job is it to regulate the banks, and sort the economic wisdom from the gibberish?
Why were big US finance houses doing in London stuff that they weren't even allowed to do on Wall St?
Read what Gordon Brown said when he opened Lehman Brothers' new HQ, then call him blameless.

On the present issue, we agree that it's no more likely that any well-intentioned action by the council will reduce people seeking ruinous loans than Prohibition kept people away from booze.

Capping peoples' loans from 4000% down to 500 % will only help at the margins. Specialist high-risk consumer lenders have to charge at least 100% to be in business at all, it's been calculated, since they lack the spread of profitable services available to a bank. If they disappear altogether, they will be replaced by something worse.

What will help these people is the reconnection of supply of affordable loans from the mainstream banks - which we still partly own. What will help them still more is the availability of easy start-up credit for business and self-employment.
Tub-thumping gesturism by politicians will make no difference at all, sadly.
'the bankers, and neo-liberal economists whose job it was to notice that the world economy was being driven over a cliff.' So it's OK if a government is driving while blindfolded? Whose job is it to regulate the banks, and sort the economic wisdom from the gibberish? Why were big US finance houses doing in London stuff that they weren't even allowed to do on Wall St? Read what Gordon Brown said when he opened Lehman Brothers' new HQ, then call him blameless. On the present issue, we agree that it's no more likely that any well-intentioned action by the council will reduce people seeking ruinous loans than Prohibition kept people away from booze. Capping peoples' loans from 4000% down to 500 % will only help at the margins. Specialist high-risk consumer lenders have to charge at least 100% to be in business at all, it's been calculated, since they lack the spread of profitable services available to a bank. If they disappear altogether, they will be replaced by something worse. What will help these people is the reconnection of supply of affordable loans from the mainstream banks - which we still partly own. What will help them still more is the availability of easy start-up credit for business and self-employment. Tub-thumping gesturism by politicians will make no difference at all, sadly. mdj

4:05pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Billy Yerache says...

stickmanny wrote:
"Will the 'Spokeman' also acknowledge that Labour Bankrupted the Country "

No the 'Spokeman' won't do this because it is a lie. The guilty parties are the bankers, and neo-liberal economists whose job it was to notice that the world economy was being driven over a cliff.

Censoring the internet is pointless. Heavy regulation is the answer to the payday loans issue.
No doubt you will vote the beetroot faced Ed Balls-up back into power when still refusing to acknowledge his party's dreadful track record, he seems to be the only MP in the Shadow Cabinet not accepting Osbourne's turn around of the economy. Same old two faced Labour.
[quote][p][bold]stickmanny[/bold] wrote: "Will the 'Spokeman' also acknowledge that Labour Bankrupted the Country " No the 'Spokeman' won't do this because it is a lie. The guilty parties are the bankers, and neo-liberal economists whose job it was to notice that the world economy was being driven over a cliff. Censoring the internet is pointless. Heavy regulation is the answer to the payday loans issue.[/p][/quote]No doubt you will vote the beetroot faced Ed Balls-up back into power when still refusing to acknowledge his party's dreadful track record, he seems to be the only MP in the Shadow Cabinet not accepting Osbourne's turn around of the economy. Same old two faced Labour. Billy Yerache

5:35pm Thu 12 Dec 13

stickmanny says...

@mjd

You misunderstand! Gordon Brown is one of the neoliberal economists I was referring to. Labour is full of them, the Tories are neoliberals to a man.

How many had that 'economic wisdom' before the crash? A quick search will tell you that there were at most twelve of them. The others clung on to economic theory that says crashes are impossible and debt is not relevant in any economy.

My point is that the crash was not caused by any UK political party. Those that blame it on Labour or any other party are liars and they know they are.

Much of the blame falls on US bankers who lobbied vigorously in the 80s for repeal of the Glass Steagall Act, put in place after the Wall St crash of 1929. The Republicans permitted this repeal and here we are.

Now we have Boris telling us greed is good again. These people will never learn.
@mjd You misunderstand! Gordon Brown is one of the neoliberal economists I was referring to. Labour is full of them, the Tories are neoliberals to a man. How many had that 'economic wisdom' before the crash? A quick search will tell you that there were at most twelve of them. The others clung on to economic theory that says crashes are impossible and debt is not relevant in any economy. My point is that the crash was not caused by any UK political party. Those that blame it on Labour or any other party are liars and they know they are. Much of the blame falls on US bankers who lobbied vigorously in the 80s for repeal of the Glass Steagall Act, put in place after the Wall St crash of 1929. The Republicans permitted this repeal and here we are. Now we have Boris telling us greed is good again. These people will never learn. stickmanny

7:31pm Thu 12 Dec 13

mdj says...

'A quick search will tell you that there were at most twelve of them. ...'

Thirteen!
In 1986 the Halifax, still a plodding Building Society, offered me twice the loan I was asking for. I was in my first year of self-employment, with no accounts to show and a couple of rather dodgy endorsements from a friendly client.
I refused it, and told them they were being irresponsible. More fool me , in retrospect; but interest rates were 10% at the time, so it wasn't cheap money I was passing up.

It was clear that a general culture change was setting in, insulated from any sense of danger by a generation of prosperity. Naming guilty individuals becomes a bit pointless in the middle of a Tulip Mania.
I've been waiting for the mega-crash ever since. I'd say we're only half-way into it at present.
All parties are guilty, as you say. But other globalised countries such as Australia, Canada and Norway insulated their economies much more successfully from the bigger insanities of the casino culture. Ours could have done the same.
To be fair, the free-market and contrarian Money Week was forecasting doom for years before 2008. You didn't have to be marxist to be horrified at the impending mess.
What happens next? Well, the way we have been surrendering control of our key economic assets and decision making to foreign entities indicates a sort of quiet despair on the part of our rulers - unless they simply really are cheaply bought.
'A quick search will tell you that there were at most twelve of them. ...' Thirteen! In 1986 the Halifax, still a plodding Building Society, offered me twice the loan I was asking for. I was in my first year of self-employment, with no accounts to show and a couple of rather dodgy endorsements from a friendly client. I refused it, and told them they were being irresponsible. More fool me , in retrospect; but interest rates were 10% at the time, so it wasn't cheap money I was passing up. It was clear that a general culture change was setting in, insulated from any sense of danger by a generation of prosperity. Naming guilty individuals becomes a bit pointless in the middle of a Tulip Mania. I've been waiting for the mega-crash ever since. I'd say we're only half-way into it at present. All parties are guilty, as you say. But other globalised countries such as Australia, Canada and Norway insulated their economies much more successfully from the bigger insanities of the casino culture. Ours could have done the same. To be fair, the free-market and contrarian Money Week was forecasting doom for years before 2008. You didn't have to be marxist to be horrified at the impending mess. What happens next? Well, the way we have been surrendering control of our key economic assets and decision making to foreign entities indicates a sort of quiet despair on the part of our rulers - unless they simply really are cheaply bought. mdj

7:40pm Thu 12 Dec 13

stickmanny says...

I agree this one hasn't played out yet.

What happens next? More of the same boom/bust, unless or until those with their hands on the tiller know that they will pay if the ship hits the rocks. As it stands the masses are still set to underwrite their failure.

I liked Steve Keen's idea best: instead of bailing out the banks we should have given businesses and companies the money, with the condition that any debt held by them must be paid down. That way we all would have got through this quicker and the greedy would have gone to the wall.
I agree this one hasn't played out yet. What happens next? More of the same boom/bust, unless or until those with their hands on the tiller know that they will pay if the ship hits the rocks. As it stands the masses are still set to underwrite their failure. I liked Steve Keen's idea best: instead of bailing out the banks we should have given businesses and companies the money, with the condition that any debt held by them must be paid down. That way we all would have got through this quicker and the greedy would have gone to the wall. stickmanny

11:39pm Thu 12 Dec 13

WalthamWabbit says...

I am most impressed that Waltham Forest Guardian Newspaper Website User "mdj" and the prescience to predict the Global Financial Meltdown back in 1986. It seems his considerable economic talents are wasted pottering about on such websites. Does the Financial Times of London not have a Web Forum on which such a pre eminent Mind can post?
I am most impressed that Waltham Forest Guardian Newspaper Website User "mdj" and the prescience to predict the Global Financial Meltdown back in 1986. It seems his considerable economic talents are wasted pottering about on such websites. Does the Financial Times of London not have a Web Forum on which such a pre eminent Mind can post? WalthamWabbit

11:49pm Thu 12 Dec 13

mdj says...

'More of the same boom/bust, unless or until those with their hands on the tiller know that they will pay if the ship hits the rocks. As it stands the masses are still set to underwrite their failure.

Quite. No system's healthy unless the officers are the first out of the trench. It's the decoupling of risk from responsibility that underlies most problems, I'd say, from the personal to the environmental.
'More of the same boom/bust, unless or until those with their hands on the tiller know that they will pay if the ship hits the rocks. As it stands the masses are still set to underwrite their failure. Quite. No system's healthy unless the officers are the first out of the trench. It's the decoupling of risk from responsibility that underlies most problems, I'd say, from the personal to the environmental. mdj

1:14pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Billy Yerache says...

WalthamWabbit wrote:
I am most impressed that Waltham Forest Guardian Newspaper Website User "mdj" and the prescience to predict the Global Financial Meltdown back in 1986. It seems his considerable economic talents are wasted pottering about on such websites. Does the Financial Times of London not have a Web Forum on which such a pre eminent Mind can post?
Maybe he can tell us tonight's Euromillion numbers?
[quote][p][bold]WalthamWabbit[/bold] wrote: I am most impressed that Waltham Forest Guardian Newspaper Website User "mdj" and the prescience to predict the Global Financial Meltdown back in 1986. It seems his considerable economic talents are wasted pottering about on such websites. Does the Financial Times of London not have a Web Forum on which such a pre eminent Mind can post?[/p][/quote]Maybe he can tell us tonight's Euromillion numbers? Billy Yerache

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