My pick of last week’s news is the simply astonishing blog by the Amigo founder, James Benamor.
Graph of the week
Today’s figures lay bare a frankly disastrous 7% decline in the incomes of the poorest fifth over the past two years, leaving them no better off than in 2004-05. Making up for 14 years without income growth should be a top policy priority. pic.twitter.com/w98QXleeAM
— ResolutionFoundation (@resfoundation) March 5, 2020
“I started Amigo in 2005” Blog by the founder of Amigo. “During my short time back on the Amigo board, I have witnessed a company committing slow motion suicide”
- and my article on it: Board room bust-up at Amigo
- James Benamor’s cunning plan to disrupt Amigo Times (paywall) The sub-prime lender is at war with its founder.
- Wonga STILL hasn’t paid out mis-selling compensation despite promising payments by end of February Sun: The defunct lender’s administrator, Grant Thornton, admits 40,000 claims have yet to be paid, blaming it on issues verifying account details.
- QuickQuid owner’s former director quits FCA committee Sharecast: Responsible lending campaigners criticised the FCA for allowing Lord to sit on the RDC as the company he had been a director of headed for bankruptcy with a record of poor lending.
- Cash on Go enters administration FCA: This is the mid-size payday lender Peachy.
- Coronavirus: Three days more sick pay for self-isolating workers BBC: More detail is needed over how this particular concession will work in the short-term, but in the long-term it may provide encouragement to those who say the whole system of sick pay is unfair and should be overhauled.
- Why the coronavirus could push the financially vulnerable over the cliff edge Yorkshire Post “The current concern really sheds a light on how precariously balanced many people are, which is entirely in line with what we see, as people more often than not tip over into problem debt as a result of an income knock.”
How Klarna and ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Affects Your Bank Balance Vice: Klarna, Clearpay and Laybuy promise affordable shopping, but they’re really just debt dressed up in a fast fashion wrapper.
Winners and losers from overdraft overhaul BBC: Some overdraft borrowers will see charges double while others will make “astonishing” savings when new prices kick in, new analysis shows.
Managing persistent credit card debt UK Finance. “there will be a peak of activity up to the end of March, when the first round of letters offering repayment options and setting out measures that card providers will take goes out to … around 950 thousand customers”.
Devon debt collector tied up tourists at wrong address BBC: They realised after a while they were in the wrong place but left the couple bound with gaffer tape, smashed their phones, and took their car keys to stop them getting away to raise the alarm.
“It’s hard, I’m drowning” – older women facing greater financial problems University of Manchester: 44% of women aged 65 years and older who were divorced reported having difficulties ‘keeping up with bills and credit commitments’, compared to 19% of married women.
Benefits & other news
Universal Credit – Getting it to work better Institute for Government: Report by Nicholas Timmins (who wrote the best book ever on welfare policy in the UK, “The Five Giants, a biography of the welfare state”.)
Council housing chief wants Universal Credit scrapped as arrears rise 24 Housing: “I haven’t got the answers for this, all we can do is try and help our residents.”
Brent Community Law Centre has closed Law Centres Network: After nearly fifty years of dedicated service, Brent Community Law Centre, in north London, has now closed. Like many charities, it has been significantly weakened by unrelenting public funding cuts, while demand for its help has grown.
SEA welcomes recognition of economic abuse in the reintroduced Domestic Abuse Bill Surviving Economic Abuse: Naming economic abuse helps raise awareness of it; creates a framework through which we can respond; and holds perpetrators accountable.