Monday 2 May 2011

GLC supports Margo's proposal to cap interest rates in Scotland

Govan Law Centre (GLC) has offered to draft Margo MacDonald's proposed Interest Rate Cap Bill if she is re-elected. Ms MacDonald is reportedly delighted with GLC's support for her proposal to use Scots criminal law to set a cap on interest rates to protect low paid workers and vulnerable consumers in Scotland.

The proposal is in response to the growing prevalence of loans and credit at excessive rates of interest - often several hundred to several thousand percent - all at time when the banks' base interest rate is historically very low: currently 0.5%. The UK removed interest rate caps in 1974, however, consumer interest rates caps are common in Europe and many US states. Excessive interests rate are lawful in the UK.

GLC's Principal Solicitor, Mike Dailly said: "Two and half thousands year ago the Romans capped interest rates at 8.3%, rising to 12% some 355 years later. Usury laws have a long history around the world for good reason: it is unjust and immmoral to exploit people and trap them in a cycle of debt due to excessive interest".

"This is a highly complex area of law and practice - not least because unfair lending can occur with hidden charges and extras, as well as APR rates - but I believe GLC has the trackrecord and expertise in this field to support Margo MacDonald, and work with other civic groups in Scotland, to make this fantastic proposal a reality".

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