Re: 437.4% Apr!!!
Cloverleaf, the people who are taking these loans out, are not buying cars or plasma televisions with the money, they are buying food, paying for their rent, and just trying to survive. They cannot get any money from the High street banks, so have put themselves at the mercy of the "moneylenders". Very often, they intend to pay off the loan with their next pay cheque, but it never quite works out like that. To these poor people, the energy companies are not being "a bit naughty", they are like the robber barons of medieval times. Over the last year, every essential you can think of has increased in price - light, heat, fuel, water, council tax, insurance. There are so many people in this country earning less than £15K a year, and they are the ones in poverty. Wages for ordinary people have not increased in over 10 years, but there has been massive inflation at the other end of the scale. There is now a larger gap between rich and poor, than there was nearly a hundred years ago.
I have not heard many people with your views "I don't see a problem with finance companies charging what they want to", so I would guess (I could be wrong of course), that you work in the financial sector. The very fact that the Government has stepped in to bail out the banks, and the fact that the US government has stepped in to assist their two largest mortgage lenders, merely shows that Capitalism in it's present form does not work. In a true "free market" economy, these two institutions would have been left to sink, and that would have been a warning to others. By intervening and helping the banks to survive, you are interfering in the mechanics of the system. I would prefer a system where the banks and essential services are all controlled by the government, and if that means nationalisation, then so be it, because the present system, with it's inequalities of wealth, and blatant corruption is not working.