cash-strapped families in west Leeds are being urged to beware the loan sharks in the run up to Christmas – and to remember that help is at hand.
The West Leeds Debt Forum (WLDF) has launched a series of advice events to be held across the area in the coming weeks.
The first is at Armley’s library and One-Stop Centre on Thursday, November 8, from 2pm, with further sessions in Bramley and Kirkstall.
The campaign is being spearheaded by former Leeds West MP John Battle, and backed by current MP Rachel Reeves.
Mr Battle said many families were getting caught in a “spider’s web” of debt with loan sharks, borrowing from one to pay the other and racking up even bigger debts as a consequence.
Ms Reeves added: “I’m proud to support the campaign by the West Leeds Debt Forum, who do vital work in our community to tackle the scourge of loan sharks and high cost lending, pushing people further into debt and poverty.
“For families who are struggling to make ends meet, there are better options than payday lenders knocking on the door, charging sky-high interest rates, making people worse off.”
Campaign co-organiser Tina Leslie said: “Times are hard, prices have risen, fuel costs are soaring. Unemployment in West Leeds is high, especially amongst young people, and welfare reforms are starting to take effect.
“People on the edge are really struggling and there is great concern that in desperation they will turn to loan sharks and never escape their clutches”.
WLDF, together with the England Illegal Money Lending Team, is conducting a blanket campaign in the coming months to let people know what help is available.”
Phone the free helpline on 0300 5552222.