Counting the true cost of easy money
With the recent announcement (thankfully since reversed, amid much controversy) that QuickQuid would be the new shirt sponsor of Bolton Wanderers, I decided to do a little investigation into the cost of credit. I know a lot of people are aware that payday loans are expensive, yet so many people continue to use them.
Payday lenders are not alone when it comes to high interest charges. Just turn on the radio or television, or take a walk through the local high streets and we are bombarded with companies encouraging fast, easy money and encouraging you to go into debt.
They use headlines like ‘Getting money FAST has never been easier’ and ‘Stop worrying! Your money is waiting for you!’. They now want us to sell our clothes or sell our gold to make a fast buck! But is this really the answer?
I remember many years ago watching adverts on television and thinking that weekly payment retailer Bright House looked like a really great idea. It seemed professional, simple, an easy concept, and believe me it is simple. When I did the mystery shopping as part of my job, the woman was so polite and the process so simple, I almost bought a new cooker! Continue reading
Our local press recently reported on the story of a Bolton at Home tenant who is distressed at having to leave her home because she cannot afford to pay the rent. The reason she can’t pay is because is she is victim of the “bedroom tax”. Her housing benefits have been reduced because she has more bedrooms in her property than she currently uses, and this means the rent she has to find has jumped up.
You can’t help but have sympathy for her and, equally, you can’t help but be disgusted by a Government measure that penalises so many with relatively little reward to the exchequer, especially in a week where once again the issue of tax avoidance by large companies on a massive scale has been highlighted.
In this case, we have found alternative accommodation, and we should hopefully be able to avoid any financial hardship until the move can take place. The council’s Housing Benefits Service is working hard to ensure its Discretionary Housing Payments pot is targeted to those who need it most, and that may be of help here, but the amount they’ve been allocated is a country mile away from what’s been lost. Continue reading
Bolton at Home has launched a new scheme to help struggling landlords and other property owners to fill their empty properties and increase the supply of homes in the local area.
The housing organisation has secured a pot of funding from central government under the ‘Empty Homes’ initiative, which will allow it to provide grants of up to £10,000 to bring empty properties back into use.
The scheme aims to help landlords that have properties requiring investment in internal repairs.
In exchange Bolton at Home will take on the management of the property on their behalf for a minimum of five years and will provide them with a guaranteed income from the property. Continue reading
Watching a recent ‘Question Time’ it was nice to see that the issue of housing and welfare benefit reform, particularly related to housing benefits, was on the agenda. Less nice was what appeared to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the social housing market among some of the country’s leading politicians.
According to Michael Heseltine there is a fundamental moral issue that dictates that people on welfare benefits should not receive more than those in work.
Vince Cable, perhaps with a future leadership bid in mind, stated that we should look after our most vulnerable, but said we had to acknowledge that there is a welfare benefits problem.
First thing first, the reason the vast majority of people who exceed the level of the benefit cap do so is because of their housing costs, and this is particularly the case in London. Their weekly living benefits remain at a level most would struggle to live on, and in all probability wouldn’t provide most of the cabinet with enough to cover the cost of a single night out. Continue reading