Bid to cut down on payday lenders

Tighter regulations and stricter planning procedures will help limit the numbers of new payday lenders on Scotland’s high streets.

Local Government Minister Derek Mackay announced the measures - designed to minimise the presence of payday lenders in communities - which are set out in a new 12-point Scottish Government action plan.

The plan is a result of Scotland’s first Payday Lending Summit earlier this year and based on feedback from local authorities, advice services, welfare organisations and credit unions who attended.

The preventative measures also include the introduction of a new Financial Health Service which will serve as a one-stop-shop for money advice services, and there is an emphasis on promoting credit unions.

Launching the plan, Mr Mackay said: “This reinforces our commitment to addressing the problems associated with payday lending and sets out a number of actions that we will undertake across a range of policy areas.

“Payday loan companies are not only blighting our high streets but they are exposing people to financial credit they just cannot afford.

“Bringing the industry together at the Payday Lending Summit was a real opportunity to share ideas and discuss ways of reducing the problem of payday lenders in town centres.

“I won’t pretend that this action plan will solve the problem overnight but it’s a step in the right direction.

“Through legislation we will remove some of the exemptions from planning control on premises that sell pay day loans. This will allow planning authorities to implement policies addressing future clustering and over-provision of such activities. The planning proposals also include similar changes regarding controls on betting shops.

“We’re making conditions tougher for payday lenders by excluding them from small business bonus schemes and working with the Financial Conduct Authority to tighten up regulations.”