A Rap song has been released in tribute to the Archbishop of Canterbury‘s warnings about payday loans.
We Need A Union On The Streets, by music producer Charles Bailey and featuring the rapper Question Musiq, was inspired by the former Bishop of Durham, the Most Rev Justin Welby‘s efforts to expand Britain’s network of credit unions.
The song tells the story of young people who get into debt because of payday loans and features the words of personal finance guru Martin Lewis in which he warns that “payday loans gone wrong are a horrendous thing”.
The song has the chorus
“What we need is a union, we need a union on the streets/Everybody hand in hand, people can’t you understand”
and the verse
“Yeah it’s unfair/But they don’t care/The rich get richer/While poor get less”.
The release comes after a national network aimed at offering an alternative to payday lenders was launched last month by Sir Hector Sants, who is heading a task group for the Archbishop on promoting credit unions.
The scheme is being piloted in the Southwark, Liverpool and London Church of England dioceses.
Mr Bailey, who has worked on social campaigns to combat gun violence and has also set the speeches of the late Tony Benn to music, said he had felt “moved” to help the task group.
“When I listened to the Archbishop of Canterbury speaking out about pay day lenders I felt moved to do something to help his task group to reach to the urban youth who are often the victims and introduce them to a much safer and ethical way of borrowing through credit unions,” he said.
Mr Lewis said: “The payday loan industry is relatively new, and has used powerful marketing to build its business and groom young people to think it is normal.
Dr Elizabeth Henry, the Church of England’s adviser for minority ethnic Anglican concerns, said: “Efforts like this help the Church to extend its reach and engage with people on issues that affect their everyday lives.
“The song is appealing and I hope will get the message across to all communities that credit unions are a much safer way to borrow.”
The pay day lenders have argued that their loans are intended to be repaid over a short term and fill a gap left by the High Street banks. But Archbishop Welby has expressed concern that these loans are tempting people into a spiral of debt.
The Consumer Finance Association declined to comment on the recording.
Source – Durham Times, 11 July 2014
Charities and clubs across the North East have been told they are no longer welcome at Newcastle Building Society.
The Tyneside lender has contacted local groups to say it will no longer be providing the special accounts reserved for good causes.
Charities will instead have to go to other high street banks, losing the local links with a trusted lender. Bank accounts for community groups typically see charges that would normally be made on business accounts waived, with other preferential rates and services on offer.
Newcastle Building Society said it had not offered the charity accounts to new users for many years and pointed to “greatly increased” administration costs when contacting customers.
The building society’s decision is the latest blow to the region’s charity sector to come from the banking industry. Already Virgin Money has announced it will not be supporting the Northern Rock Foundation, ending nearly two-decades of funding for the charity.
Voluntary groups have now said they hope the building society will continue to back local causes.
Carrie Brookes from the Voluntary Organisation Network North East, said: “This is sad news, removing the last local bank for charities to choose for their banking. It also follows a bad few weeks of news following the failure of the Northern Rock Foundation talks. We hope Newcastle Building Society will continue to support local charities and community groups in alternative ways as we understand they have in the past.”
Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes was among those questioning the society’s decision.
He said: “Many clubs, societies and charities prefer to bank with building societies because they are seen as more ethical and locally based than banks. I’m therefore extremely disappointed to hear that Newcastle Building Society, having provided such services for decades, is pulling out of charity banking.
“This is causing great inconvenience to all those affected, with all the hassle of having to open new accounts, as well as sending a message that charities aren’t profitable enough for them. I urge the Newcastle Building Society to think again about how important strong local roots are in financial services before it is too late.”
Last night a Newcastle Building Society spokeswoman said: “The change forms part of the society’s wider simplification programme. We haven’t offered these accounts to new customers for several years and they do not form part of our core offering. Most of these accounts were set up a long time ago and many of the accounts are inactive.
“We wrote to account holders several months in advance of this to provide as much notice as possible.”
Source – Newcastle Journal 09 May 2014