Loan sharks circle families on a Wakefield estate

18th January 2012 More than one in three Lupset children is living in poverty, latest figures show. Interview with parents affected.   Kaci Poulton. Location: St Georges Community Centre, Broadway, Lupset BY MATTHEW PAGE
18th January 2012 More than one in three Lupset children is living in poverty, latest figures show. Interview with parents affected. Kaci Poulton. Location: St Georges Community Centre, Broadway, Lupset BY MATTHEW PAGE

FAMILIES on an estate where one in three kids live in poverty are bearing the brunt of falling incomes and rising living costs.

When the council tax bill arrives or kids want presents in Lupset , parents struggle to find the cash as Loan shark circle.

A large proportion of people living on the estate, which has a 35 per cent child poverty rate, have taken out unsecured high interest loans to make ends meet.

They told the Express of signing up to crippling debts to pay for Christmas and holidays when we visited them at St George’s Community Centre on the estate.

Stephanie Johnson, 26, said: “People take loans just to survive sometimes.”

Tina Lawson, 30, said: “I think most people on Luspet estate have got a loan. I would say at least 10 people on every street.”

Dawn Bradley, 34, said “I got a loan for £400 for Christmas and paid back £798.”

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

In Lupset, jobs are scarce and many people struggle in low paid part-time employment. Residents said they found it hard to find jobs because of attitudes to where they live.

Mrs Johnson said: “I think Lupset is classed as poor, people that are just on drugs and sit about letting their kids do what they want. We get stereotyped. You can’t go out and find jobs that aren’t there.”

She said out-of-work couples were under pressure because they were stuck in the house all day. She added: “That’s why there are so many single mums about.”

Parents were worried about cuts to benefits. Gemma Colligan, 29, said she would lose out when the requirement for claiming tax credits increases to 25 hours work a week.

She said: “I’m on 16 hours a week but my boss says I can’t get more hours. We’re going to be £60 a week worse off. I’ll have to stop my daughter going to dance classes. It’s a lot of money.”

Becky Poulton, 27, said people trying to get training struggled to pay for childcare. She said: “The job centre won’t pay for childcare unless your course leads straight into work.

“It affects my children when they are stuck in the house with their mum all day. It’s devastating not to be able to let your kids to what they want to do.”