Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has condemned the Scottish Governments decision to hand £1.2 million of public money to a debt collecting firm, Portfolio Recovery Associates UK PRA), in the form of a government grant. PRA made the announcement during First Minister Alex Salmonds trade trip to New York.
Ms McTaggart, who has campaigned against pay day loan companies as part of the Debtbusters movement said:
“This is a move of complete hypocrisy from a Government who claim to be on the side of those who suffer at the hands of pay-day loan companies. Although this action will create around 400 short term jobs in debt collection in Kilmarnock, it will be at the expense of the poor and vulnerable who struggle with debt the most.
Glasgow City Councils Payday Lending Soundboard found that Glasgow citizens borrow over £57,000,000 annually through payday lenders, home credit, pawnbrokers, and rent-to-own outlets. The Scottish Government should work to restrict payday lending firms and those who profit from their work, not offer them grants. This type of borrowing leads to on-going problems such as debt, ill-health, and income deprivation and more needs to be done by the Government to combat it.
This money could be better used strengthening the economy, creating a positive and equal working environment for women and minorities, and providing skills and apprenticeships, rather than creating temporary jobs that drain the resources of those that are struggling and have had to take out a payday loan just to meet their basis needs.”