People with money problems seeking help from Citizens Advice Epsom and Ewell are turning to payday loans, credit cards and hire purchase despite the cap on payday loans introduced in January 2015.
The cap on interest rates and fees introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority has led to a 54% decrease in clients seeking our help with payday loans. However, people are accessing other forms of high cost credit which compound their debt problems.
Citizens Advice Epsom and Ewell’s local research shows that in our Borough one in ten clients with money problems uses high cost credit. Of those using high cost cred-it, one in ten has used more than one type of high cost credit, and more than half also has a credit card. This is just the tip of the iceberg with 522 local people last year seeking advice and support on 1,567 debt issues – 19% of all issues we see here.
We will be undertaking local research into the use and impact of high cost credit – loans and borrowings that are hugely expensive to repay, primarily due to super-high interest rates. This includes analysis of the data we collect, and interviews with clients who have used high cost credit.
We will be publishing our results in July 2017.
Working together across Surrey, we saw an issue for disabled people regarding mobility assessments for PIP (Personal Independence Payments) where there was Motability car involved. We see a number of cases for PIP that appear to us to have been unjustly assessed, especially around the mobility element, and help to take those through the appeal mechanism. However, where there is a Motability car involved, this was often lost while the Appeal process was in progress. We wrote to the Disabilities Minister, enclosing a substantive amount of evidence on how this was impacting people.
Working together across the whole of Surrey, we are going to be tracking the incidents where we give advice to people whose personal circumstances have been worsened by the introduction of the Welfare Benefits Cap. We are analysing these as the number of people seen grows, to see if there is a pattern of a clearly impacted group, particularly a vulnerable group, that we can then argue for greater help for.