BAD lenders were criticised by an unlikely duo this week. On
Tuesday night, the Archbishop of Canterbury told a reception in the
House of Lords that their victims suffered "a particularly
unendurable form of slavery". The next evening, at All Saints',
Peckham, a rap artist, Charles Bailey, launched a new single with
lyrics that suggest that their profits should be "illegal".
Mr Bailey approached the Church of England with the idea for the
rap after being inspired by Archbishop Welby's campaign for
responsible lending. The single, "We Need a Union on the Streets",
featuring the rapper Question Musiq, and a singer, Delilah, tells
the stories of young people who fall into debt because of payday
loans with high interest rates. "It should be illegal, the money
they earn," the song suggests.
On Wednesday, the national adviser on minority-ethnic Anglican
concerns, Dr Elizabeth Henry, said that she was "thrilled" by Mr
Bailey's approach, which would "help the Church to extend its
reach, and engage with people on issues that affect their everyday
The reception at the House of Lords, which was addressed by the
Archbishop, was organised by the Association of British Credit
Unions, which acts as the secretariat for the All-Party
Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions.
Referring to the parable of the two debtors, the Archbishop
said: "Debt to a bad lender is a particularly unendurable form of
slavery. And the credit unions are trying to be the merciful
lender, the one who has a clear system of values and ethics, and
builds what they do around a value of the common good."
He paid tribute to the "labour of love" of the credit-union
movement over the years; and, while highlighting progress such as
an improved regulatory environment, gave warning that expanding the
movement was "a marathon, not a sprint".