The SNP will call for credit card interest to be capped in the same way as payday loans under proposals in the party’s manifesto to deal with problem debt.
An existing cap on repayments to payday loan companies should also be slashed, the nationalists will say when they unveil their manifesto this week.
The announcement comes after Nicola Sturgeon set out her party’s red lines for any talks with Labour on forming a government, with the scrapping of the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system alongside a second independence referendum at the top of the list.
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Ms Sturgeon said the SNP would work for a “real end to austerity”, devolution of powers over migration, workers’ rights and drugs laws and “an end to the misery of Universal Credit and welfare cuts” if the nationalists shared power with Labour.
And she told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme that reversing Labour’s support for the renewal of Trident nuclear missile submarines would be a ‘red line’ in talks to form a government, saying she would be “absolutely firm”.
“I have been campaigning against Trident for the whole of my life so, yes, that is absolutely a key position that the SNP would have in any discussions about supporting a minority Labour government,” Ms Sturgeon said.
In an article for the Guardian website yesterday, the First Minister also criticised the Labour leader for including Trident renewal – estimated to cost up to £200 billion over the programme’s
lifetime – in his party’s manifesto.
“Corbyn, a long-time supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, is now fully signed up to renewing Trident,” she wrote.
“While I have my differences with Jeremy on this issue – in his heart of hearts I believe he still feels the same as I do.
“Yet, in attempting to become prime minister, he feels the need to sell out his principled opposition to Trident and promise to keep them on the Clyde.”
The First Minister was speaking after the shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said it could be “two or three years” before a Jeremy Corbyn administration would give the go-ahead for Scotland to have a second vote on leaving the UK.
Mr Corbyn had previously left the door open to an independence referendum as early as 2021.
Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, Ms Sturgeon – who wants another vote on Scotland’s future in 2020 – said: “My position, and the one I would expect Labour to respect if they wanted SNP support, is the question of if there is an independence referendum and the time of that is down to the Scottish Parliament to decide, not Westminster.”
She said an election which produces another hung Parliament “would give Scotland maximum influence” and would leave Labour with no choice but to grant an independence referendum, or lose its chance to end austerity.
She repeated her assertion that the SNP would “never, ever put Boris Johnson into Downing Street” and that she would not enter into a formal coalition with Mr Corbyn, saying instead there would be a “less formal arrangement”.
Tackling problem debt
Among the SNP’s demands will be a lowering of the cap on interest repayments for payday loans, which currently limits the total cost of interest and fees at 100 per cent of the value of the original loan.
Consumer campaigner Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, has called for the cap to be closer to 50 per cent. Figures from regulator the Finacial Conduct Authority for 2018 show that the current cap may be having a limited effect, with borrowers using high-cost short-term credit repaying on average 1.65 times the value of their loan.
Patricia Gibson, the SNP candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran, said: “Most families will rely on credit at one point or another, but they shouldn’t be hammered by rip-off interest rates and charges.
“The price cap on payday loans introduced in 2015 shows that there are ways of tackling high-cost credit.
“SNP MPs will call for new action to lower the price cap on payday loans even further – and to extend the principle to credit cards and overdrafts.”
Also appearing on the Sophy Ridge programme yesterday, Mr McDonnell said: “I wouldn’t expect anything in the first two or three years because the Scottish people themselves are saying we’ve got to concentrate on austerity and get that sorted.
“We’ve got to concentrate on sorting out Brexit. Above all else we’ve got an existential threat of climate change. That’s a huge agenda.
“We see the independence issue in terms of a potential referendum as a distraction from that.”
Gary Mulvaney, the Scottish Conservative candidate for Argyll and Bute, claimed the First Minister was threatening to “destroy the 11,000 jobs on the Clyde” that depend on Trident.
“Trident is good for Britain’s security, and good for Scottish jobs. Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon want to do a deal that would wreck both.
“Jeremy Corbyn has already made clear he will concede another independence referendum if he becomes prime minister. Everyone should now know that a vote for Labour at this election is a vote to help Nicola Sturgeon get her way.”