NEWS RELEASE                                   Tuesday, 05 November 2013

Keep Wonga out of Barnet!

A consortium of local churches and a debt charity, CAP are urging Barnet residents to avoid using payday loan sharks in the run up to this year’s Christmas.

This campaign starts on the same day Wonga bosses were summoned to appear before an evidence committee of MPs, which is seeking to review the business practices of such payday loan companies. The Office of Fair Trading, The Competition Committee and the Financial Conduct Authority are also looking into these companies.

Local churches in the borough which include Jesus House and Trinity Church have urged vulnerable residents on low incomes to avoid debts which could attract interests that could easily spiral to over 2700% APR.

The national debt charity, Christians against Poverty, who work with Barnet residents through the Barnet South CAP debt centre recently released research which shows that four out of five people taking out payday loans did so to be able to afford food.

 

The Barnet CAP Centre Manager, Andrew Cooley said “Payday loans create spirals of poverty that people really struggle to get out of. The high interest rates and high charges push people into desperate situations and increase their poverty.”

 

Chief Executive for CAP, Matt Barlow said “People who take out this expensive sort of credit are hungry, worried about keeping warm and becoming homeless.”

 

The Labour leader, Ed Miliband  has launched an attack on our "Wonga economy" saying payday lenders are "running riot through our communities".

He accused the firms of preying upon vulnerable people then intimidating them with bullying tactics when they failed to repay the loans.

He said they had created a "quiet crisis" for thousands of households saddled with debts they were unable to pay off.

 

 

However all hope is not lost.

 

With the cost of food rising over the last few years and the overall cost of Christmas set to rise again this year, many families may feel that their debt burden is doomed to rise, however help is at hand. Churches from all across the borough are coming together for the seventh year to provide a FREE hamper to those that desperately need it which contains all the essentials required for great festive meal.

You can register a family in need to receive a hamper by visiting barnet.christmaslunchonjesus.com or support them at http://barnet.christmaslunchonjesus.com/donate.

If you are having problems with your finances, make an anonymous appointment by calling 0800 328 0006 or call local debt centre manager Andrew Cooley on 07426 121 261.

 

Notes to the Editor:

Poverty Statistics in the UK:

·       The Barnet Debt Centre is based at Jesus House for all The Nations is based at 112 Brent Terrace, Brent Cross, NW2 1LT.www.jesushouse.org.uk

·       Statistics show that more than 13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK

·       The church also runs the Colindale Foodbank project which provides emergency food for families and individuals in desperate need across Barnet.

·       2014 has been predicted to be a year that will get harder for many people in the UK who are struggling to get out of debt and poverty. In the UK many individuals and families are being pushed into poverty because of unmanageable debt.

·       Wonga.com ‘straight talking money’ is a digital finance company based in London who provide short term cash flow needs for individuals and businesses. They have rapidly became one of the world's most innovative credit providers.

 

Christians against Poverty

·       CAP was set by founder John Kirby in 1996 to help people across the UK struggling with debt, he who has experienced being in debt.

·       Barnet CAP debt centre was set up in 2012 by Jesus House and Trinity church.

·       The centre works with thousands of individuals to tackle their debt across the London borough of Barnet, supporting people to negogiate with their creditors and stick to realistic budgets.

 

For press enquiries please contactEdel Meremikwu on 0208 438 8285 ore-mail meremikwue@jesushouse.org.uk

05/11/2013