UCAS backs down over debt ads
Martin: ‘For it to be happy to push out emails about expensive debt to impressionable young people is just plain wrong’
Martin Lewis, founder and chairman of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “While I am a little warmed by the fact that UCAS have moved, they still have not moved enough.
“UCAS, a charity with privileged access to 18-year-olds, seems to be putting the wishes of its commercial arms over what should be good charitable aims.
“I understand it wants to generate advertising revenue, but it has already rightly prohibited some types of adverts, such as gambling – and it’s important it adds high-cost credit and commercial loans to that prohibition list.
“This has never been more important. The university sector is already being criticised for not adequately supporting students’ mental health. As chair of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI), we’re very aware of the destructively high correlation between debt and mental health issues.
“UCAS is a charity, and many see its communiqués as official. For it to be happy to push out emails about expensive debt to impressionable young people – even with the caveats – is just plain wrong. The university sector itself should be putting UCAS under pressure to stop this.
“The chief executive has kindly invited me to meet her, and I will do, but not to discuss her agenda. I will only do it on the proviso that I can explain why including this type of ad is wrong, and that there is still some room to move on that.”