Welsh employers urged to help staff avoid high cost credit

Credit Unions of Wales are calling on more Welsh employers to sign up for payroll partnerships following a study into the impact of high-cost loans.

The report Life on Debt Row studied how different forms of borrowing had affected borrowers from mental health to family relationships and employment.

Nearly half of those using payday lenders said that it had adversely affected their employment situation, while 62 per cent said they drank more alcohol as a result of their debt.

One in 10 respondents said that being in debt resulted in them taking antidepressants for the first time. A third of respondents said that they used more prescription and over the counter medicines as a result of their debt.

The report found: “Credit unions came out very positively, highlighting that they play an important role in offering affordable, fair credit to consumers.”

Ann Francis, General Manager of Cambrian Credit Union said: “Nearly half of those using payday lenders in this report were in employment.

“Employers have a huge role to play in helping people see the real alternatives to high-cost borrowing.

“Earlier this month 140 organisations in Wales showed their commitment to staff financial wellbeing by becoming Credit Unions of Wales Payroll Partners and we urge more to follow them.

“This report highlights, once again, that caring for staff financial wellbeing makes social and commercial sense.”

By becoming a Credit Unions of Wales Payroll Partner, an organisation offers staff the ability to save or repay credit direct from their salary. The scheme costs nothing to employers.

‘Life on Debt Row’, by health education charity the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), ranked payday loans as having the most negative impact on mental well-being, followed by unauthorised overdrafts, doorstep loans and weekly payment stores.

The research was welcomed by Patron of Credit Unions of Wales and founder of the End High Cost Credit Alliance, actor Michael Sheen.

He said: “The evidence on the impact on our health and wellbeing is now overwhelming. We have the evidence. Now we need action.”

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