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Reaching out to help Leeds people with debt

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Residents who are struggling with debt in Leeds are being urged to talk about their money worries.

A new national campaign will see West Yorkshire Trading Standards work in south and east Leeds to deliver a series of workshops to increase money management skills.

The news comes after figures reveal that one in five people in Yorkshire and Humber who are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage are taking out risky loans.

A series of workshops will inform how welfare reform changes are likely to affect residents and how to avoid becoming a victim of a scam.

A session talking about common scams will be held at Middleton Library on Monday – the start of Debt Awareness Week.

Local councillor Kim Groves, who will be attending the session, said: “Raising awareness of common scams and frauds is invaluable in a society where scams are constantly evolving.

“Having the knowledge to identify potential scams also enables us to give helpful advice and tips to friends and family members.

“Scammers often prey on the most vulnerable members of the community and it is everyone’s responsibility to look out for each other.”

The YEP reported that Leeds is aiming to become a “payday” free city in a bid to help some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.

Council bosses are discussing measures to stop some of the city’s poorest families from being trapped in a cycle of poverty and debt.

Their 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.

New figures released by housing charity Shelter show that nearly one in five rent or mortgage payers in Yorkshire and the Humber has borrowed money to cover their housing costs.

And nearly a quarter of people would feel too ashamed to ask for help if they couldn’t pay their rent or mortgage.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Sky-high housing costs, stagnating wages and the high cost of living have taken their toll.

“The economy as a whole might be on the up, but losing our home could now be a frighteningly real prospect for any one of us.

“Our message today is don’t keep your worries to yourself.”

To book a place on the workshop at Middleton Library, which will be between 2pm and 3pm, contact Dawn Mason on 0113 393 9819 or email dmason@wyjs.org.uk

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