With the furlough scheme set to end, Christmas on the horizon and the kids having just gone back to school, I know that money will be tight for lots of people right now. That is why I am really concerned about reports that doorstep lenders are targeting residents in Brecon as they try to sign people up for loans with an APR of as much as 535.3%.
Let us be clear, it is no coincidence that these companies have started targeting homes in our community. They are preying on the poorest, the most vulnerable and those hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Things are tough for lots of people in our community. The Coronavirus has affected us all in different ways and the financial pressures families across Powys are facing are real and uncertain. I don’t want people to fall into the doorstep lenders trap and become burdened with unaffordable debt and the stress that brings.
I did some online mystery shopping and according to the website of one well known doorstep lender, a loan of £260 would end up costing me more than £400. That simply isn’t an affordable option and too many people are getting trapped by this system which rips them off and makes profits out of someone’s hard times. Meanwhile in 2019 the parent company of a well-known doorstep lender, declared a £162.6m adjusted profit before tax.
Scrapping the furlough scheme will widen inequality and create real pressures for working people. Sadly, the next six months will see greater uncertainty and financial insecurity for residents across the County. As we continue to fight the Coronavirus pandemic, I was pleased to see the creation of a financial support fund for people who need to isolate because of COVID-19. It is right that we ensure people don’t have to choose between doing the right thing and self-isolating and going out to work.
We all need help and support at some point in our lives and there are other options available to help with money worries and debt. I would urge people to reach out and talk to support services like Powys County Council’s Money Advice Team, the Money Advice Service or our local Brecon and District Credit Union.
The darker days will pass and we will pull through the tough times if we help and support each other.
Contact details for support services:
Powys County Council’s Money Advice Team: 01597 827666
Money Advice Service: 0800 138 7777
Brecon and District Credit Union: 01874 620104
Or look for them on facebook.