The Church of England’s plan to take on the payday lenders will help keep those on the breadline away from a life of crime, Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner says.
Tony Lloyd was speaking after the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, revealed his plan to force companies like Wonga out of business – by competing against them.
Archbishop Welby, who is a former banker, unveiled plans to expand the role of credit unions as an alternative to the payday lenders – opening up the prospect of having responsible money lenders based in churches.
Tony said: “I warmly welcome this intervention by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It’s timely, imaginative and important. It shows the real role that faith groups play in helping to build a better society and it’s right that those in the direst of financial need turn to them rather than the likes of Wonga.
“These payday loans companies are the modern version of the Biblical money lenders – and we know how Jesus dealt with them. Payday loans firms prey on the most vulnerable, taking them down a path to poverty which can often lead to crime.
“We know there’s a real link between poverty and crime. For example, we’re starting to see an increase in people shoplifting food in order to make ends meet. When people are desperate they turn to these people. To give them an alternative – a refuge from the loanshark – is precisely the kind of role the modern church should play.
“I am looking forward to meeting the new Bishop of Manchester and am keen to explore ways in which we can help support this important initiative here in Greater Manchester.”
Archbishop Welby outlined his plan in an interview with Total Politics, where he revealed that he’d challenged head-on Wonga’s boss, telling him he wanted to put him out of business by having the Church compete with him.