Stella Creasy accuses payday lender of ‘targeting highest echelons of government’ over news Jonathan Luff is to join firm
Downing Street has been challenged by a campaigning Labour MP to answer a series of questions after an adviser to David Cameron resigned his post to become a lobbyist for the payday lender Wonga.
Stella Creasy, who has exposed the crippling interest rates charged by such companies, warned that payday lenders are now “targeting the highest echelons of government”.
Creasy issued a statement on her website after Wonga confirmed that Jonathan Luff, a senior No 10 adviser, is to lead its government affairs team. The appointment was revealed by Mark Kleinman, the city editor of Sky News. Luff tweeted on Monday: “Home. What an extraordinary week. Huge thanks to friends both old and new. #onwards”
Downing Street declined to comment on the appointment of Luff, who was on secondment to Downing Street from the foreign office, on the grounds that it does not discuss individuals. Luff is a civil servant and is not a politically appointed special adviser.
Creasy said: “Like many other legal loan sharks, Wonga is making massive profits from preying on consumers in Britain’s poorly regulated consumer credit market. They have used these profits to target our football clubs and Saturday night TV, and now they are targeting the highest echelons of government. Those Britons struggling with debts caused by payday lending and wondering why the government is doing nothing to help them.”
The MP asked four questions:
• Will the government confirm that Luff’s appointment has been approved by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments?
• Will the government confirm whether Wonga was involved in Luff’s work for the government’s GREAT Britain campaign?
• Will the government outline all contacts between No 10 officials and high cost credit card companies while Luff worked in Downing Street?
• Will the government confirm that Luff will be forbidden from contacting former colleagues in his new post?
Creasy added: “This appointment only further raises concerns about how seriously this government takes personal debt. When most other countries have capped the costs of credit to protect their citizens from the debts this type of lending can cause, British consumers urgently need to know whose side their prime minister is on- theirs or the legal loan sharks?”
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