The Children’s Society, a charity that assists disadvantaged children, has issued a call for payday loan advertisements to be banned from all TV and radio broadcasts before the 9pm watershed, and has claimed that its research shows that 74% of parents would support such a ban.

This goes further than the ban on loan advertising on children’s television many other campaigners have called for, and which Labour Party leader Ed Miliband MP has indicated his party will sign up to should they win next year’s general election.

The Society has issued a report entitled “Playday not payday: Protecting children from irresponsible payday loan advertising,” which contains the results of market research into the subject.

The Society cites research from broadcasting watchdog Ofcom which says that there are now 20 times as many loan adverts being broadcast on TV than was the case four years ago. The majority of these adverts are aired before 5pm. Research from Moneysavingexpert.com is quoted in the report which reveals that one third of parents of under 10s have heard their children repeat payday loan advertising slogans.

The Society also commissioned its own research, via research agency YouGov, which found that one third of children aged 13-17 thought payday loan adverts were “fun, tempting or exciting.” 55% of teenagers knew the names of at least three payday lenders, and almost three quarters of respondents in this age group had seen a payday loan advert within the seven days prior to being surveyed.

In summary, the report is calling for advertising restrictions on payday loans similar to those that exist for the drinks industry.

Other recommendations in the Society’s report include a ban on consumer credit firms making unsolicited marketing calls, and a ban on payday loan advertising from council premises.

Persons under the age of 18 are of course not permitted to borrow money. But the main concerns about advertising to minors are: firstly that children will pester their parents to take out loans to spend on toys and treats; and secondly that the lenders are grooming the next generation into believing that borrowing money is normal.

The Society has now launched its Debt Trap campaign, where the public are invited to lobby members of the House of Lords. It is seeking an amendment – under which pre-watershed loan advertisements would be banned – to the Consumer Rights Bill currently making its way through Parliament.

Lily Caprani, director of policy and strategy at The Children’s Society, said that

“children across the country are being exposed to a barrage of payday loan adverts.”

Matthew Reed, CEO of the Children’s Society, added:

“It is crucial children learn about borrowing and money from their school and family, not payday loan adverts.”

The UK’s largest lender, Wonga, has already stopped using its elderly ‘puppet’ characters in its advertising. New chairman Andy Haste made the announcement shortly after taking up his duties at the lender, saying he did not wish to take the risk of “inadvertently attracting the very young or vulnerable.”

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