Payday loan ads could be banned from being shown on kids' TV – something which MoneySavingExpert.com has campaigned for – as the broadcasting watchdog has this week launched a consultation on the issue.
The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) is asking for views on whether it should restrict when payday loan adverts are broadcast on TV (not radio), and in particular whether to ban them being shown between programmes directed at, or likely to appeal to under-18s or to under-16s.
The move follows a call for evidence by BCAP on the issue, which it says found "little robust evidence of advertising-related harm", although it says there are "gaps and inadequacies" in the evidence it has seen.
MoneySavingExpert.com and its founder and editor, Martin Lewis, have campaigned to get such ads banned from kids' TV and warned that lax rules on payday loan advertising risks inuring a new generation to the dangers of these loans of last resort. See the 'Payday loan ads should be banned from kids' TV' MSE News story for more, and see our Payday Loans guide for cheaper alternatives if you're struggling.
'Payday lenders have groomed next generation of borrowers'
Martin Lewis, founder and editor of MoneySavingExpert.com, says: "Over the last five years, payday lenders have effectively groomed the next generation of borrowers by dazzling kids with catchy tunes and cute puppets.
"Past polls from MoneySavingExpert.com showed more than one in three people with children under 10 have heard their kids repeat slogans from payday loan TV ads, and 14% said when they've refused to buy something for their under-10, they've been nagged to take out a payday loan for it.
"Marketing has always been at the core of payday loans – in fact it mostly created a debt sector where one didn't exist before. The result has caused many people pain and misery, and the adverts played in the background of kids' daily lives, has meant a normalisation of this harmful form of debt to our next generation.
"We were the first to campaign for this back in 2013, and while regulation thankfully means the payday sector no longer has quite the power it once did, it still presents a huge potential danger. I hope BCAP will finally close the door, so we never have to deal with this again."
'Watchdog must seize chance to curb TV payday loan adverts'
Charity The Children's Society has also long been calling for a change in law to ban payday loan adverts from TV and radio specifically before the 9pm watershed. It wrote a Guest Comment piece for us on this subject last year.
On the news of BCAP's consultation being launched, Matthew Reed, chief executive of the charity, says: "BCAP's consultation means that, for the first time, advertising regulators are seriously considering banning payday loan adverts during programmes children are likely to be watching.
"We urge as many people as possible to contribute to this debate to make sure the regulator acts."
BCAP's consultation closes on 16 December.