Debt forums are set to unite in a city-wide campaign against high-interest money lenders.
Members of East, West and South Leeds Debt Forums are joining forces for the first time to address a high-interest lending conference in Leeds.
The conference, which has been organised by Leeds City Council, is part of the authority’s campaign to make Leeds a “payday loan free” city.
The YEP recently revealed council bosses are discussing measures to stop some of the city’s poorest families from being trapped in a cycle of poverty and debt.
The campaign aims to tackle high-cost lending following a recent boom in people turning to lenders and loan sharks to make ends meet.
Up to 60,000 people in Leeds could be forced to use high-interest lenders.
Around 22,500 people are believed to have taken out payday loans to pay their bills.
Norah Gibson from West Leeds Debt Forum said: “The conference is something we are delighted to be joining.
“I think the council are bringing in some very good initiatives to try and protect people from being preyed upon by high-cost lenders. These lenders do target vulnerable people and people who are in crisis.”
Ann Nicholls from East Leeds Debt Forum said: “This will be the first time we have come together on one big issue.
“Payday lenders are really quite difficult for people with huge amounts of interest for very small amounts of money.”
High-profile speakers will address the conference at Leeds Civic Hall later this month.
Council leader councillor Keith Wakefield added:“Poverty is the biggest challenge Leeds is facing and one which we are tackling head on.
“The scourge of payday lenders is forcing many of the most vulnerable people in our city into poverty by allowing them to taken on loans they can ill afford, with phenomenally high- interest rates.
“We have organised this conference to call on as many people as possible to join us in tackling this issue and ensure our message is spread far and wide.”