Taking a stand against high-cost lenders

A National conference in Leeds tomorrow will see the launch of a major campaign to tackle the high cost lending industry in the city and announce initiatives to build capacity for alternative, more affordable financial services and more support for those in need of money and debt advice.

A campaign film will be shown at the conference which will illustrate the dangers of borrowing from high-cost lenders and will feature well known sporting personalities from the city.

Initiatives being announced at the conference, organised by Leeds City Council, include:

• A major citywide awareness raising initiative to highlight the dangers of high cost lenders and to promote more affordable alternatives.

• A complete review of money advice services in the city, developing a more coordinated and integrated service, delivered in areas of greatest need in the city.

• Building the capacity of Leeds City Credit Union to expand its services and offer banking and credit facilities to those who previously had to rely on high cost lenders.

• challenge the marketing strategies of some of the more prominent payday lenders by declaring a high cost lender free zone by the three major professional sporting clubs in the city; Leeds United, Leeds Rugby, and Yorkshire County Cricket.

• The Student Unions at both the city's major universities will announce the banning of all advertising of high cost lenders within their facilities.

Whilst initiatives have been developed in many parts of the country, this is the first time that a major city has decided to mount a concerted and coordinated campaign to tackle high cost lenders.

The conference will be chaired by the leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr Keith Wakefield who said;

"At the conference we will see the announcement of many initiatives which we have been developing throughout this year, but we see this as just the beginning. The council will be calling on all our public, private and voluntary sector partners to join together to combat what has become a major scourge in the big cities of the United Kingdom.

“Over 220 delegates will be attending the conference, including representatives from over 35 cities across the country. Many cities are looking to take initiatives in the way that we are doing here in Leeds and we hope that delegates to the conference will take away with them the enthusiasm to duplicate some of these initiatives.

“We hope that this will become a nationwide campaign to stop the activities of predatory lenders. Leeds has been at the forefront of financial inclusion work for over a decade and we hope that we can help to inspire a revolution in this area of work across the country.”

Notes to Editors

The film can be viewed at:www.leeds.gov.uk/takeastand

The film include the following sporting representatives:

Peter Lorrimer, Leeds United Legend, former player

Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Leeds Rhinos Player

Andy Dawson, Commercial Director, Yorkshire County Cricket Club


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk