Bishop backing scheme to avoid spiralling debts
A SWANSEA initiative aimed at encouraging families to avoid getting into debt to those charging spiralling interest rates has won the backing of Bishop John Davies, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon.
Swansea Council has been urging residents facing debt problems to think about looking for support from Credit Unions and other agencies to avoid turning to payday loan companies or even loan sharks.
Its part of the authority's commitment to tackling poverty in the city.
Council leader David Phillips said: "Loan sharks prey on vulnerable people and seem to offer a way out of financial problems. But the truth is that families can be dragged down by these illegal moneylenders and find themselves owing huge amounts of money.
"Payday loans also seem like a good option. But the interest rates some of these companies charge are massive and can result in families facing more financial trouble than they were in before.
"However, the council will continue to work with our partners to support the most vulnerable in our communities. We are lucky to have excellent agencies and organisations in the city which are doing their best to try to buffer people who are financially or socially vulnerable.
Now Bishop John has written to the Swansea Bay Fair Credit Campaign offering his support.
In his letter of support Bishop John said that families living in poverty were easy prey for the unscrupulous and unprincipled who actively plan to make their money from those who have little money to begin with.
He said: "The consequences are greater despair, deeper debt and even personal tragedy."
Working with local residents to tackle the debt issues facing local families because of payday loans is one of the council's policy commitments.
Mitchell Theaker, Swansea Council's cabinet member for opportunities for young people, said: "We are grateful to Bishop John for his letter of support and much encouraged by it."
The Swansea Bay Fair Credit Campaign is supported by agencies including LASA, the Swansea Credit Union, Advice Agencies, Moneyline Cymru, churches and Communities First.