Help to beat debt sharks

The Credit Union, along with other organisations, are to combat the increasing rise in high interest loans and loan sharks, that have been targeting areas of Wakefield, such as Lupset.'Richard Stevens from White Rose Credit Union is spearheading the campaign.'w8213a212
The Credit Union, along with other organisations, are to combat the increasing rise in high interest loans and loan sharks, that have been targeting areas of Wakefield, such as Lupset.'Richard Stevens from White Rose Credit Union is spearheading the campaign.'w8213a212
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ACTION will be taken to tackle loan sharks on an estate where one in three children is living in poverty.

Advice agencies have pledged to help people avoid falling foul of doorstep lenders after it emerged that a shocking number of Lupset residents were ending up with crippling debts.

Parents struggling with rising living costs and falling incomes told the Express that the unsecured loans were being used just to make ends meet.

The loans are legal but can carry interest of more than 500 per cent. A mum said most people in Lupset had a loan. Another said she borrowed £400 and repaid £798.

Worryingly, people were using the loans to pay for their council tax, household bills and Christmas presents.

Now Wakefield’s Financial Inclusion Partnership, has pledged to tackle the problem and plans to leaflet 3,000 homes about the support available.

Richard Stevens, manager of the White Rose Credit Union, said: “Loans companies use adverts on daytime TV to make their products look fantastic, but of course, they are not.

“We have come across people who have borrowed from one door step lender to repay another. It’s a huge issue.

“There is more affordable credit available and we offer a whole host of schemes to help people save.”

The partnership includes the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), the council, Job Centre Plus, Wakefield and District Housing, the pension service and the White Rose Credit Union.

The CAB already offers financial advice at the St George’s Community Centre, on Broadway, and frontline staff at WDH are being trained to help with debt problems.

Lupset has Wakefield’s highest child poverty rate, at 35 per cent. In Eastmoor the figure is 31 per cent. An average of one in five kids are classed as poor across the city.

Families told how they struggled to make ends meet and provide for their children when the Express visited the St George’s Centre in January.

Jobs were scarce and many people could only find part time work. Cuts to working tax credits, rising living costs and rising unemployment meant many were worried about the future.

Mr Stephens said residents should seek advice from the CAB if they fell into debt they could not repay.