Debt advisors have teamed up with a controversial money lender to tackle the Town’s growing money crisis.
With the average person seeking help being £43,000 in the red – double last year’s figure – Medway’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) will survey thousands of people in a bid to halt the spiralling problem.
In an unusual move, the research will be carried out with the help of payday loan specialists Wonga. The firm has been criticised for charging interest rates of 4,214% APR and recently came under fire for offering payday loans to students.
Dan McDonald, chief executive of Medway CAB, said: "On the surface this may seem an unusual partnership, bearing in mind that Medway CAB has been at the forefront of the campaign to highlight the risks associated with payday loan lenders.
"I have had a number of open and frank discussions with Wonga and have been impressed by their commitment to this independent inquiry."
The survey will give thousands of people the chance to give their views on various lending products, ranging from bank and credit cards, to store cards and short-term loans.
Medway CAB will then assess the findings make recommendations to other bodies and help to introduce financial awareness.
The Medway branch of the CAB sees £2.5 million worth of debt stories every week, with the average person seeking help having amassed £43,000 in debt. Recently it met a client who had a staggering 68 credit cards.
MP for Chatham, Tracey Crouch (Con), who will chair the personal finance inquiry, said: "It is essential we find ways of helping people to manage and understand their personal finances and prevent people getting into debt.
"This independent inquiry will help us scratch much deeper beneath the surface of Medway’s increasing debt problem and consequently help local organisations target support to those who need it."
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