A ‘nine o’clock’ watershed for payday loans adverts should be introduced to stop ‘the debt grooming of young people’, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 10 December).
Unite is also calling for the number of payday adverts to be curbed, following today’s Ofcom report
which outlined an explosion of payday loan advertising in the UK from 2008 to 2012.
With the personal debt burden among UK adults already the heaviest in Europe, Unite is concerned that with a child aged four to 15 viewing on average 70 payday loans adverts a year, the next generation of debtors is being indoctrinated.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “This research paints a horrific picture of a generation of children and young people being groomed into a culture of debt by this bombardment of advertising.
“It is not just children being infected by this payday loan culture – research has shown that people are borrowing £660 a month just to pay for the necessities of life – food, housing and heating.
“The Advertising Standards Authority should give a robust lead in introducing a ‘nine o’clock’ watershed for these payday loans so that children are not influenced by this insidious onslaught.
“The number of adverts should be curbed – as the public are being duped into thinking that getting into debt is an easy option and pain free – quite the contrary.
“It is also appalling that Wonga and Co can parade their wares on the shirts of premiership football teams.
“This needs to be addressed which is why we need to think about a complete ban on payday loans in the way that tobacco advertising was marginalised and then eventually eradicated from all media outlets.”
The independent survey conducted by Mass1 of 4,087 Unite members in August showed people are borrowing £660 a month. The figure has more than trebled from the £200 being borrowed in March 2012.
The Ofcom research found that there were 17,000 payday loan advertisement spots shown on TV in 2009. This increased to 243,000 in 2011 and reached 397,000 in 2012 – a year-on-year increase of 64 per cent.
By 2012, 596 million adverts were seen by 4-15 year olds, accounting for 0.7 per cent of adverts seen by this age group. This meant that the average child aged 4-15 saw 70 payday loan adverts last year.
For further information contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Ofcom press release
Full Ofcom report
Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.