mining in North Manchester

Alex’s post on the sub-prime/ legal loansharking industry’s rental of the Conservative Party reminds me again of the odd cluster of payday loan cum pawnbroking storefronts in our local high street; four on a hundred yard frontage.

Now the thing is that Crumpsall ward has low numbers of absolutely workless households, but the highest number in Manchester of households earning below 60% of median income, the official poverty metric. Still, they have stuff in their houses, stuff that can be pawned, until it runs out. And they have an income: a low income, but one bad month for them allows you to crack into it and extract yourself a little value. And once you’ve extracted that value, you’ve created the need which enables you to crack into it again next month and the month after that. Some of this, of course, can be kicked upstairs for legislative protection. And so here is our growth sector with its own emerging lobby. Not Osborne’s magic export pixies but the working poor considered as an extractive industry.