I was interested to read a report sent to me by Sally Chicken (Director of the Rainbow Saver Anglia Credit Union) regarding some research carried out by Leeds City Council and its partners. This was to see whether resaerch carried out in 2004, which concluded that up to £9 million each year was lost to the local economy through people having to pay out excess interest to doorstep lenders, was actually correct.
The reserch findings are as follows:
- It included a survey of residents who have had support from Leeds City Credit Union and Debt and Welfare Advice Agencies delivering affordable credit, debt and welfare benefits advice.
- The research shows that every year, £26 million additional income is generated in the local economy in Leeds with an impact on the regional economy of over £28 million.
- This economic impact is produced from total operating costs of £3.3 million, which means that for every £1 invested in financial inclusion initiatives £8.40 is generated for the regional economy.
This is a powerful argument for more investment in financial services for those in poverty.