|"SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOME EXTRA CASH..." Photo taken by Diamond Geezer on the DLR|
Not content with sending out JP Morgan's press releases for them Boris Johnson has now decided to take sponsorship from a high interest "short term loans" company over New Year's Eve.
Wonga.com confirmed to me today that they are sponsoring free New Year's travel and their posters are apparently already being posted across the TfL network.
Now I know sponsorship is hard to find, but should the Mayor really be encouraging London's most desperate and needy to get themselves into even more debt over the Christmas period?
And how does this tie in with the Conservative party's pledge to "tackle Britains' debt culture"?
-Update- Green Party Assembly Member Jenny Jones said today:
"The Mayor of London must understand promoting 2689% borrowing is stupid and dangerous. Reducing public debt, by promoting private debt is irresponsible politics. We live in an age where personal debt is an all time high and it is the money men who are profiteering from the excess. This is giving a platform to a loan company just as Londoners are hit by the January blues, when bills arrive and cash is short."
Martin at Mayorwatch has a statement from TfL
Diamond Geezer kindly sent me the picture above taken on the DLR.
-Update- (21 Dec) Boris was on LBC today with James O'Brien where he seemed mighty confused about the issue saying that Wonga's interest rates were "extortionate" whilst claiming that it was "perfectly acceptable" for him to promote them...
O'Brien – There is concern about your choice of Wonga as a key sponsor for TFL over Christmas and New Year. Ken Livingstone has had his abacus out and has calculated a 2689% APR rate on their loans and he suggests it is not very wise of you are selling their advertising on the buses and tubes?’
Boris – Well they’re are legitimate outfit and they are licensed to trade in this city, and if they want to sponsor, reduce cost of travel in London then that seems to me to be something that is perfectly acceptable. But what I would say and I would stress this, people should be aware of the extortionate rates of interest that they can charge and people should not enter into irrational or unwise debt obligations...
O'Brien– But you appreciate seeing it on side of bus or tube can actually camouflage what you have just described as extortion?
Boris – Well as I have said I think it is very important that people are aware of the massive downside of getting exposed to debt on this scale and I will lose no opportunity to make that point...
I think that opportunity has already been lost Boris.