Plymouth Council has banned Wonga.com and other payday loan companies from advertising on billboards and bus stops in its city centre, ahead of the Competition Commission outlining the scope of its investigation.
Plymouth is the first council to ban ads from payday loan firms, and the decision closely follows Cheshire East Council’s announcement at the end of June that it would block access to payday loan websites.
Payday loan firms have come against scrutiny in recent months, and Plymouth Council’s decision comes as the authorities mull a ban similar to that imposed on the cigarette industry.
The CC is to outline the key areas it will examine in its investigation into the industry at 10am this morning (14 August).
Councillor Chris Penberthy, the cabinet member for co-operatives and community development at Plymouth Council, said: "Plymouth’s advice agencies are taking calls daily from people who are running up huge debts that are causing stress and hardship to them and their families.
"We need to protect people and make it difficult for payday loan companies to operate in our city but we do recognise times are hard."
A spokeswoman for the council said this ban has been implemented through an agreement with the City Centre Company, which is partly funded by the council and partly by local businesses.
The council will also block access to 50 of the most popular payday loan sites across the council’s network, which includes libraries and community centres.
In March this year the Government pledged it would work to bring in new advertising restrictions for short-term loan companies, working with the Office of Fair Trading, the Advertising Standards Authority and the industry.
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