Simon Read: Wigan joins the local battle against costly lenders

Two weeks ago I reported in these pages about how local communities are banding together to help local people fight the growing menace of payday lenders.

I reported that in the North-east, for instance, local groups such as Citizens Advice held a Fair Credit "listening event" in Newcastle.

Meanwhile in Kilburn, north London, local community leaders met council chiefs to try to improve access to fair loans through credit unions.

I've been keeping my eyes out for other activities across the country and so was pleased to see that a "Debtbusters" campaign has been launched in Wigan this month.

Wigan & Leigh Debtbusters hopes to raise awareness of the detriment caused by payday lenders and that affordable loans, free help and advice is available through credit unions and Citizens Advice bureaux.

Backing the launch was MP Yvonne Fovargue, who has spent much of her public life fighting the impact of irresponsible lending.

"There are far too many cases of payday lenders acting in a manner which is wholly inappropriate and loads debt onto people with no consideration of the customer's needs," she said. "Rollovers are the obvious example of this reckless behaviour."

She advised local people to turn to credit unions for help with finances, which is good advice. She also advised anyone worried about debt to seek help at Citizens Advice.

But I'd also like to pass on the words of local councillor Jo Platt. "Over the past couple of years payday lenders have proliferated in our area," said Jo, Labour and Co-0perative councillor for Astley-Mosley Common.

"Wigan Council is serious about supporting our residents who are facing financial hardship."

I'd like to hear from more local communities and responsible councils doing the same.

Please get in touch if you hear of any positive actions in your own area to battle the rise of unscrupulous, high-cost lenders. s.read@independent.co,uk Twitter:@simonread

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