The Labour Party launches an attack on payday lenders. It may be too late
IN THE real world, shoppers are moving online. But retail politics—selling eye-catching policies to voters—still starts on the high street. On October 17th Ed Miliband, Labour's leader, announced plans to “halt the tide of payday loan firms” into Britain's shopping districts that accelerated following the economic crisis in 2008.
Payday lenders are an obvious example of what Mr Miliband considers irresponsible capitalism. As well as making struggling high streets even less attractive, they are accused of stiffing impoverished customers with high interest rates. Nearly a third of payday loans are taken out to cover day-to-day household bills, Labour says. Excessive borrowing is a common cause of poverty, according to the Citizens Advice Bureau, a charity.
Mr Miliband proposes three prongs of attack. First, a Labour government would push the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to introduce some sort of cap on interest rates or charges. Second, it will increase the levy that lenders currently pay to the FCA and spend it on debt counselling and supporting credit unions (non-profit mutual lenders). Third, councils will be given new powers to prevent shops being turned into payday lenders.
Overall, these suggestions are modest. At present the government spends ￡13m ($21m) per year on encouraging credit unions. Labour wants to double that figure, suggesting the new levy would be fairly light. Any new cap on interest rates is unlikely to be tight. Changing planning laws—not a new idea—would have the most effect, but most high streets have plenty of payday loan shops already. There may be little pressure to open new ones.
Indeed, there are reasons to think that payday lending has peaked. Bank of England figures show that credit-card lending is picking up again after several years of decline. Partly thanks to government prodding, credit unions are trying to lure customers from payday lenders, spending more on advertising and speeding up their application processes. Even the Church of England wants to compete short-term lenders out of business.
That will not put off Mr Miliband. As he points out, real wages are still falling. And much like those other high-street bugbears, bookmakers and pawnbrokers, payday lenders will not disappear soon. But eventually the tide will go out—and politics will have little to do with it.
这并不会阻挡米利班德前进的脚步。他指出，工资会持续下降。和其他商业大街的顽疾一样， 出版商、当铺老板、发薪日贷款人都不会很快消失在人们的生活中。但最终潮水会退去—而政治和这关系不大。译者：毛慧 校对：姜开峰
1.plan to 计划
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2.accuse of 控告
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3.according to 根据
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4.turn into 变成
例句:We think he'll turn into a top-class player.