The Bureax of Investigative Journalism revealed over the weekend that three executives of a doorstep lenders CLC Finance shared a table with the Secretary of State at the glitzy event where attendees were reported to have a combined wealth of £22 billion. According to the website, they enjoyed a ‘wide-ranging discussion’with IDS on matters including Universal Credit. Perhaps they discussed the propsed five week waiting period for the new benefit or the current benefit sanctioning regime which is forcing hundreds of thousands of people into debt and destitution.
CLC Finance are the kind of bastards who persuade you to take out a hundred quid loan and then want a hundred and fifty back from you over the next five months. Their vile business model is based on the real poverty trap – the stark fact that if you are hungry, or your kid needs shoes, then you will be forced to make short term decisions that have negative consequences in the future. This doesn’t just lead to poor people staying poor, it makes people in poverty poorer.
There has been no better friend to loan sharks, whether legal or otherwise, than Iain Duncan Smith. One of his most vindictive welfare reforms was scrapping Crisis Loans, small advance payments which were repayable out of benefits and barely cost the tax payer a penny. What they meant was that if someone’s oven broke down, they were a vicitm of crime, or faced a similar emergency, then they would not be dependent on scum like Wonga or CLC Finance.
The DWP’s first move was to divert the funding for Crisis Loans to Local Authorities and tell them they could do as they please with it. Many set up foodstamp style voucher schemes, whilst some abandoned their poorest residents completely and simply sat on most of the money. Then, at the beginning of this year and around the time of the Tory Fundraising Dinner, the Government announced they would be ending even this scant funding. This decision prompted many councils to say they would no longer provide any emergency help at all.
A Judicial Review brought by Child Poverty Action Group has prompted the DWP to ‘rethink’ this decision, pending a recently launched pulic consultation. Of course the real consultations take place around expensive dining tables where private sector poverty pimps cosy up to ministers and discuss ways to make themselves richer at the expense of the rest of us.
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