Ipswich: Council bans access to loan sites on public computers

Access to loan sites will be restricted

Access to loan sites will be restricted - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

Ipswich Borough Council is to disable its publicly-accessible computers from connecting with payday loan sites in a bid to protect people from falling into serious debt.

And it is looking to increase its promotion of the area’s credit union as an alternative source of loans for those on relatively low incomes.

But while the borough is to block access from its terminals in its customer service centre in Ipswich Town Hall, there are no plans for Suffolk Libraries to block access from its terminals across the county.

Online access to more than 50 lenders, which often charge extortionate rates of interest, has been banned from users of any of the council’s computers. Staff members will not be able to access pay day lender sites.

Communities portfolio-holder Adam Leeder said: “Barring online access to dozens of pay day lenders sends a strong message that we will not stand by and do nothing while people are getting sucked into high levels of debt.”

Earlier this year, the borough agreed to invest £15,000 in the Ipswich and Suffolk Credit Union’s corporate deposit account.

However Suffolk Libraries are not planning a similar move on its computers – although it does block sites that show pornography or have terrorist links.

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A spokesman for the libraries said: “Suffolk Libraries is not currently considering blocking access to payday loan websites on library pcs which are available for public use.

“While we may not agree with or approve of payday loan sites, our policy around internet access is based around the appropriateness of the content viewed.

“Our current policy is to give people the freedom to choose which sites they visit.

“We are considering promoting Ipswich and Suffolk Credit Union on our website and public computers.”