Tai Tarian supports launch of new Life on Debt Row report

Wed 21 Mar 2018

Michael Sheen launching the Alliance

Tai Tarian is supporting the launch of a new report today (March 21 2018) by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) which looks at the impact of high cost credit on people’s daily lives.

The Life on Debt Row report is the first report commissioned by the End High Cost Credit Alliance which was publically launched yesterday by actor and activist Michael Sheen.

Neath Port Talbot social housing provider Tai Tarian is one of the key members of the Alliance and attended the launch of the report with Michael Sheen at Parliament this afternoon.

The Life on Debt Row report reveals the health and wellbeing impact of different form of credit, with payday loans having the most negative impact followed by unauthorised overdrafts, doorstep loans and weekly payment stores.

More affordable forms of credit, such as that offered by credit unions, were ranked as having the least serious impact on wellbeing.

Michael Sheen said, “As Founder of the End High Cost Credit Alliance I accept the findings of this report and will be calling on our partners to review the recommendations and back a number of the proposed actions.

“The pragmatic approach of the Alliance should provide the opportunity to deliver improvements in the availability of affordable finance across the UK, as well as a strengthened safety net for those who need it. 

“I believe that is the best way we can improve the health and wellbeing of credit users and we’ll push forward with the regulators, policy makers and wider Alliance members to make that happen.” 

The report identifies a number of specific health impacts on vulnerable people including;

  • Those who have used at least one payday loan feel more judged and spend more time alone as a result of distress or depression than the average credit user. Their health behaviours are also more adversely affected: they eat less healthily, skip more meals and do less exercise.
  • Nearly half (49%) of credit users who drink alcohol say they drink more as a result of their debt, rising to three in five (62%) among payday loan users.
  • Among those affected by recent changes to benefits such as the roll out of Universal Credit, four in five (79%) say this has led them to use more credit than they would have otherwise.
  • One in 10 respondents (9%) have used food banks for the first time as a result of being in debt.

Tai Tarian Chief Executive Linda Whittaker, who attended the report launch, said, “The Life on Debt Row report highlights the devastating impact that high cost credit has on the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people.

“As a social landlord we see these effects on our tenants and the communities they live in and are trying to do all that we can to provide help and support.

“Things have to change; we know that those who have a decent income can very often buy things on interest free credit but if you are on benefits you might have to pay up to four times as much for the same goods.

“That’s why we are fully supporting the work of the End High Cost Credit Alliance and are looking forward to working with Michael and all the members to try and make a difference.”

The RSPH is recommending a series of actions to protect the health and wellbeing of credit users including an end to targeted marketing of high interest loans to vulnerable individuals and better signposting to debt and mental health services by lenders and other organisations.

To read the full RSPH Life on Debt Row Report and news story please visit www.rsph.org.uk