Pay-day loan websites to be blocked by Dundee City Council
Access to pay-day loan company websites is to be blocked by Dundee City Council in a bid to stop people getting into debt over Christmas.
The authority has instructed its IT department to prevent people from using the websites on council computers.
Computers in all council buildings, including community centres and also libraries will be affected.
Figures suggest one in 10 Scots use the high-interest lenders to fund their festive shopping.
IT staff at the council have already barred access to more than 100 individual pay-day loan websites which charge massive interest rates.
Council leader Ken Guild said: "We are trying our best to block access to these sites which promise solutions to people that bring only more misery and heartache.
"There has been an explosion in this type of site recently and we are trying our best to keep up with this.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to remind people that the Discovery Credit Union is available for simple saving accounts, low interest loans and free life insurance."
However, the move has been criticised by the Consumer Finance Association, which represents some of the largest and most responsible pay-day lenders in the UK.
Chief executive Russell Hamblin-Boone said: "The council is free to block whichever sites it wishes from its employees' computers but to also do so on public ones in community centres and libraries is denying local residents access to short-term, flexible credit.
"Pay-day loans are increasingly popular and responsible lenders such as the CFA's members operate by a strict code of conduct which protects consumers.
"Research shows that 91% of pay-day customers are satisfied with the experience and 85% have no trouble paying back their loans, so the council's belief that the loans are detrimental to those that take them is misplaced and not based on evidence."