News that controversial pay-day loan company, Wonga, has been given face-to-face meetings in return for donations to the Conservative party, has angered politicians.
Wonga has been criticised multiple times in the past for its high interest rates and preying on those people who are struggling to make it through the month. The Daily Telegraph reported today that Wonga paid £1,250 for a face-to-face meeting with ministers at the Conservative Party conference. In the past few years, companies such as Transport for London, ITV and Football League have come under fire for accepting sponsorship from the company.
John Robertson, MP for Glasgow North West, has been working with colleagues in Parliament to try and curtail the interest rates charged by the company. In response to the Conservative donations he said: “This is a typical example of reverse Robin Hood – instead of taking from the rich and giving the poor, the rich take from the poor and give to the even richer. Companies like Wonga should not even exist, never mind be able to give money to the party in power. It is another disgraceful example of the rich looking after their own.”
Wonga charges interest rates of 4,200% or more and often targets its campaigns at people who are struggling to pay their bills half way through the month. Errol Damelin, Wonga’s Founder and CEO, was previously an investment banker.
Notes to Editors
- The Daily Telegraph article is available here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/borrowing/loans/9613729/Loan-firms-wonga-buys-the-ears-of-ministers.html
- Criticisms of sponsorship deals: Football League (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-18491861), ITV’s ‘Red or Dead’ (http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/business-news/business/wonga-slated-for-sponsorship-of-ant-and-dec-show/3151.article) and Transport for London (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-12052454).
- The annual percentage rate for Wonga’s loans is 4,214%: (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/borrowing/8774054/Wongas-interest-rate-of-4200pc-Its-not-an-automatic-red-card.html)
- Previous work history for Errol Damelin is available on his Linkedin page: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/erroldamelin