Daily Archives: October 21, 2012
Wonga’s £24m sponsorship of Newcastle United announced this week has started a spark of protest in the region. The complaints focus on the fact that the payday lender targets hard-up people with expensive loans they often can’t afford.
Wonga is a relatively young business so is keen to raise its profile among people who may be tempted by the chance of borrowing money very easily. The north-east is a prime recruitment area, with Newcastle the 40th most deprived borough in the country.
But local debt experts fear that Wonga’s arrival as Newcastle United’s shirt sponsor could encourage more people into easy credit and, eventually, into a desperate debt cycle and even into the arms of unscrupulous and often violent loan sharks.
Shona Alexander is manager of the Newcastle Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). “Our workload has increased remarkably in the past 12 months and more and more people get into trouble by taking out payday loans,” she says.
“The lenders seem to target young people which is why it’s worrying that the Wonga deal includes funding for the football club’s academy. They’re exactly the kind of people that payday lenders want to get their grips into.”