Brent sees an increase in vulnerable residents blighted by high interest loan debts
The borough’s Citizens Advise Bureau witnesses a surge in people seeking their help
Cases of vulnerable residents becoming embroiled in debt due of high interest loan companies is one of the ‘biggest issues facing the borough’, the Citizens Advise Bureau (CAB) has claimed.
The loan companies, which have seen dramatic increase in the borough, including areas of Kilburn and Wembley, offer quick loans to residents seeking money.
However, it is estimated some profit from extortionate interest rates of up to 4,000 per cent.
Speaking to the Times Samia Badani, a welfare and benefits specialist at the CAB, in Willesden High Road, said they were seeing more and more people every day turning to them for help.
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She said: “We are seeing 3 or 4 people per day who come in with the same concerns, they need cash quickly but have found themselves with unmanageable debt.
“Because of the recession, banks are not lending but rogue money lenders are breaching codes of conduct and taking advantage, creating a huge problem.”
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In the last year the CAB has given advice to more than 7,000 clients, half of which were seeking help with debt repayment.
Last week, a national campaign was launched in Wembley calling on the government to greater regulate the companies by capping the amount borrowers have to pay back.
Politicians, including the leaders of both Brent and Camden council, were joined by community members at Chalkhill Community Centre, in Chalkhill Road to launch the campaign.
Ms Badani added: “We have got to start looking out for the well being of our residents.
“We are more than happy to work alongside the council but we must show a keen interest in the issue.”
Cllr Michael Pavey, a Barnhill ward councillor, who helped organise the meeting, said he had met numerous residents who were spiralling into debt.
The Labour councillor, who also moved a motion at a council meeting condemning the practice, added: “The UK is unique in that there is no regulation on these types of organisations and vulnerable residents can spiral into debt with huge interest rates.”
A national campaign calling on the Football Association to regulate advertising within football was also launched by Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow and shadow minister for crime prevention at the event in Wembley.