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Posted on 7 March 2013 at 12:31 GMT

A comment on OFT and loan sharks

What's wonga with the Office of Fair Trading?

Like a drugged watchdog, the Office Of Fair Trading has finally, very slowly, woken up to the disgusting behaviour of the short-term high-interest loan sharks.

One wonders why on earth they have taken so long. One wonders why they are so painfully slow to do something about it, or more precisely to threaten that they might do something about it.

If you or I were guilty of extortion the police would not give us 12 weeks to improve our performance, they would bang us up right away.

The OFT has rattled its rusty sabre and warned the loan sharks that they just might do something if they do not regulate themselves.

I might mention that the food industry 'regulates itself' and you can't say neigh to that!

A cynical person might think that the half million donation to the Tory Party of Adrian Beecroft, the major shareholder in Wonga.com has something to do with it.

Wonga are very kind people who will help you out of a tight spot financially and then quite reasonably charge you 4,000% for the trouble ...

Yes, that is 4,000 percent. A lot of money. The most recent estimate is that Beecroft's company has gone from a capital of 17 million to a nice fat 384 million, mainly at the expense of people on low incomes who can only get credit from loan sharks.

Now if Wonga were to reduce their eye-watering interest rates to one which is merely extortionate the OFT will be able to claim a major victory.

Other payday loan sharks manage on a mere 2,000%. This is still enough to make your blood boil but that is no bad thing in the cold weather. After all, it is the only heating you will be able to afford, isn't it?

Derek McMillan, pensioner and Mid-Sussex Socialist Party member

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