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10 Nov 2013

Ban payday loan company adverts on children's TV? I couldn't agree more

I am an enthusiastic follower of Martin Lewis and his MoneySavingExpert.com wesbite.  Last week he introduced his campaign to ban payday loan companies from children's TV channels and I added my support (I tweeted him a 140 character version of the following on my personal twitter).  Why?  Here's why....

I have two children, both boys, age 5 and 3.  We were sat together in our living room the other day and my eldest chirped up he he wanted a new app to play on.  Because I think it's important to teach children the value of money I said he couldn't have this particular app as it cost money and we did't have any money put aside for an app.  At this point a Wonga advert came onto the children's tv channel we were watching.

He looked up, pointed at the TV and said 'We can get some money from them and then we could buy whatever we want'.  To say I was shocked would be an understatement.  The advert had been marketed in such a way that my 5 year old understood from it that there were copious amounts of money to be had, for free, and that it was easy to get hold of.  What sort of message is that for a children's tv channel?

He's a bright little lad so I explained to him that if we wanted money from Wonga it would cost us even more to borrow it.  I think he 'sort of' understood and the matter was closed.

Why do payday loan companies feel the need to advertise on children's tv?  They are clearly targeting parents who feel under increasing pressure to give their children whatever they want (I'm firmly don't believe this) and with wages barely increasing, energy bills shooting up and Christmas round the conrer I expect the payday loan companies are rubbing their hands with glee.  The side effect of this is children are being exposed to the message that borrowing money to buy things you want, not need, is OK.  This is the wrong message and unnecessary.

I am please to see that Ed Miliband has added his support to this campaign and said that if the advertising watchdog did not bring in a ban, a Labour Government would use legislation to ban it.  This is yet another reason why I am campaiging to get Victoria Groulef elected as Labour MP for Reading West and a Labour government returned to parliament.

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You can read the BBC new article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24886804

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