SCRATCH CARDS are damaging not just to individual lives but to the world,
the Bishop of Worcester, Dr Peter Selby, said in the House of Lords last week.
He linked the bad example of wealthy individuals with the bad example of
"Do not those who buy scratch cards with impunity, because they have enough
money, have a responsibility for those who buy them with disastrous effects? Do
not those who draw profits from the sale of scratch cards also have some
responsibility for those who suffer so much as a result?"
Being able to afford debt was no answer. The most indebted nation in
the world was also the richest, he said.
"That indebtedness has major long-term consequences for the lives of the
rest of us. "Planetary debt follows from national debt follows from personal
Debt "as an attitude and a way of life has the profoundest effect on our
attitude towards the universe we inhabit", he said. "We regard the universe as
an essentially unsecured and never-to-be-repaid floating loan, on which we can
draw in our generation at will and expect never to have to repay."
There were signs this week that the anti-debt message was being heard. The
British Banking Association released figures showing that, last month,
credit-card-holders paid back a net £40 million, the first time repayments had
outstripped borrowing for a decade.
But Keith Tondeur, director of the Christian charity Credit Action, said:
"It is good news for the few who have realised the situation, but it is an
alarming sign for the country. People are beginning to realise the extent of
their debt. Some may be able to act, but some will be too far gone to avoid
Matt Barlow, the operations manager for Christians Against Poverty,
said: "I don't think it signifies a big change. It is not so much that people
are paying back a lot of credit as that they have not spent as much as before."