Six things your council can do now to tackle legal loan sharks

The Leader of Kingston Council, Councillor Liz Green, has written an article for the Citizens Advice Bureau. She writes:

"I’ve been asked to share the work we’ve been doing in Kingston to tackle payday lenders head on.

"People who go to payday lenders are, more often than not, forced into it by their circumstances. They’ve exhausted all other options and are trapped in an economic black hole, where the worst parts of our financial services prey on the most vulnerable.

...

"1) Importantly we’ve protected some of the poorest people from the removal of council tax benefits and we’re paying for it by charging more to landlords who leave properties empty.

"2) We’ve got dedicated benefits advisers employed by the Council who can help people navigate the minefield of benefit changes.

"3) We’re doing everything we can to ensure our discretionary housing payment is used to help people who are struggling.

"4) We started talking to the local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) as soon as the Welfare reforms were announced to see how we could work together to support the people who will be affected. As part of this, we’ve blocked payday loan sites from all council computers, in our offices, in our libraries and in other council-owned buildings.

"5) We’ve invested in our local credit union, Kingston Savers, which is working hard to put payday lenders out of business.

"6) And finally, we also keep in touch regularly with the CAB through our Kingston Welfare Reform Board, which works to coordinate support for individuals affected by Welfare reform."

You can read the whole article here.

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