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Low Income Families 'Need Access To Cheap Loans'

Aug 18, 2007
The government needs to do more to provide consumers on low incomes with access to cheap loans, it was has been suggested.

Writing for the Guardian's society section, ex-work and pensions secretary David Blunkett and Kate Green, chief executive for the Child Poverty Action Group called on Labour to work together with the private sector to help the estimated three million Britons who cannot access mainstream credit. Consequently, such borrowers are reported to be forced to opt for credit which carries high rates of interest, seek out loan sharks or look to the government's social fund for financial help. Instead, the pair have claimed that politicians should collaborate with loan lenders to help provide affordable deals.

In the newspaper Mr Blunkett and Ms Green stated: "This could really turn things around - facilitating independence and offering a ladder away from home credit and most importantly, loan sharks, towards proper financial advice and guidance, opening a bank account and supporting a savings habit that enables and empowers, rather than spending money they don't really have on sky high interest payments. From the banks' point of view, participation would help to fulfil a significant social responsibility to poorer communities whom they presently offer little to - but it would also open up a new market with the security of government backing".

"Today's new ministers must grasp the mantle and make some real progress on this massively important issue - to extend to our poorest families the financial opportunities that so many of us take for granted", the pair added. They also declared that those on benefits borrow some 330 million pounds every year using home credit, with subsequent interest payments reported to account for some 140 million pounds.

Earlier this month, Helen Saxon from the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) reported that consumer credit use is falling as the effect of base rate rises by the Bank of England over the last 12 months has seen borrowers put more of their monthly income towards making mortgage repayments. However, she claimed that although Britons have tightened their belts in recent months and are spending less money on credit cards, personal loans and other forms of borrowing, credit has in the past proved to be largely beneficial for the majority of consumers.

Suggesting that when "used sensibly" borrowing can act as a "leveller", the FLA representative suggested that it can give Britons the chance to purchase items they otherwise may not have been able to afford or have had to save up a long time to buy. Ms Saxon added that, consequently, consumer credit has provided a boost to the British economy over recent years. However, she stated that credit providers should ensure that consumers will also be able to make repayments on their loans.

Meanwhile, James Falla, director of Thomas Charles, reported that although borrowing is starting to decrease consumers are still facing the "legacy" for steadily increasing their loan uptake over the last 20 years. "My concern would be all the borrowing that has already happened", he suggested.
About the Author
Abbi Rouse writes for 1 stop finance shop where visitors can apply for UK debt consolidation loans and also focuses on cheap personal loans and bad credit secured loans for UK residents.
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