Ed Miliband hears our clients’ payday lender experiences
- Author: Karen Bothamley, Thorne CAB
1 November was an exciting day for North East Doncaster Citizens Advice Bureau when our local MP, Ed Miliband, came to visit our Stainforth office. We had told him about the work we’re doing for clients affected by pay day lenders and he asked if he could come and speak to staff and clients.
Ed is our constituency MP and has always shown an interest in our work – but this visit was to be slightly different as he wanted to find out firsthand how clients were affected, and how new policies he is proposing might make a difference to them. We invited several clients who bravely said they would be willing to speak to him, and we were all present and correct at the appointed hour with biscuits at the ready.
The clients were nervous, but they talked through their experiences and answered Ed’s questions really well. He told us he was shocked and touched by what he heard – especially the dodgy recovery practices used by local companies! It was great that I and our Debt Specialists had the chance to discuss the problems in detail with him. Doncaster’s Elected Mayor was also present and we made the most of the opportunity to show her and Ed the problems we are dealing with every day.
All-in-all the visit lasted around an hour. It was really interesting, with Ed appearing determined to do something about pay day lenders. We sent him away with homework – a pack of case studies – and were delighted the following Monday when he sent us a copy of the speech he had made that morning mentioning his visit to us, and using my quote about pay day lenders running riot through people’s lives.
It was great to see social policy work in action, and bureau staff and volunteers feel they have really made a difference. We are looking forward to continuing contact with Mr Miliband in the future.