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Councilís low-interest shopping revolution

Reporter: Lucy Kenderdine
Date online: 27 March 2014

OLDHAM Council is set to open a high street shop selling furniture and white goods on low-interest credit.

The move is a radical attempt to provide an alternative to loan sharks and payday loans.

The “Oldham Essentials” project is designed to help residents take better control of their long-term finances by creating a “fair and accessible” alternative to hire purchase.

If the council’s cabinet gives approval on Monday the council could enter a partnership to open a unit in Spindles shopping centre by August to sell TVs, sofas and fridges, and possibly even insurance products and warranties, energy and energy switching schemes.

The aim of the “fair credit solution” is to allow all residents access to reasonably-priced finance by offering competitive interest charges.

The initiative follows the new that an increasing number of Oldhamers are turning to expensive sources of credit, including payday loans, high street rent-to-buy outlets and loan sharks to pay for household appliances.

A cabinet report suggests the retail operation will “focus staff performance not on the value of the sale, but on the savings achieved for the customer.”

Councillor Shoab Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Business and Town Centres, said: “We have been investigating options for local people to avoid them using expensive payday loan companies or high interest stores.

“This proposal would bring together our cooperative aims while providing genuine value to the residents of Oldham, with affordable and responsible lending.”


I've just googled one of the businesses this could challenge. I was looking at a fairly consistent 67%+ APR. If this set up could come in near credit card APRs (top teen %) it will do a lot of Oldhamers a favour,

Low interest credit? What exactly is that because there are no figures quoted here.
there is a worrying quote about payday loans or high interest shops which aim products at those with poor credit scores. Currys charge 20% so what's wrong with people buying there? Unless of course they're refused credit, and then it seems that the council is going to take on that risk.
On with the rose tinted glasses of socialism and splash the cash, doesn't matter if they don't get it back it isn't theirs !

I trust that none of the council members will be, or have any family members, associates or friends involved in any part of this business venture in any form, be it sales or product supplies??????

Why is the Council using council tax payers money to lend money to people who are very likely to not to be able to pay things back? What a strange thing to do. How much money is being put into this scheme?

And since when was a TV 'essential'?

What a bad proposal - encouraging consumerism & debt,
rather than recycling of household goods by charity shops !
In Hudderssfield, Kirklees Council's Neighbourhood Housing Service runs a recycling shop for these goods :
Oldham should encourage more recycling rather than
the ethic of the "Queen anthem " I want it all, now " .

Great news is this shop open to all or just low income family's. There used to be a group called the good works on featherstall road who did something similar.In fact some local authorities do this by sourcing good which have been discarded they refurbish( creating jobs) then sell at very low prices. But no doubt they would have to be brand spanking new. So who will purchase the stock for this shop and how will it be funded.

This is a really good move which in theory should help the residents of Oldham, bu what happens if they were to default on the repayments? I know that council officials will not turn up at their doors making threats, but someone will lose out! Plus, if they do default, then they'll surely be excluded from using the service in the future?

A marvelous idea that should ideally be rolled out nationwide.

Soooo this is just Bright House then? Also people struggling financially do not 'need' TV's.... well then again it is Oldham we are talking about, people who would buy expensive gadgets on interest but then say they struggle to feed their kids.


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