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More must be done to address problem of debt

I welcome Government action via the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to stamp out the massive interest charges and reprehensible practices of payday loan firms. However, there will always be a need for loan facilities for those who find it difficult to access the banks and building society-type lenders.

The NI Assembly, local councils and charitable groups allocate funding towards providing a service to those who get into serious debt. There is a great need for this service and this help is welcome. However, it is to find a solution to a current debt problem, and usually after much distress on the part of the debtor.

Government could do more to support the mutual society/credit union-type movement. A stronger network of these valuable community organisations would open a door for those who need a financial loan.

Debt is a growing problem. A failure to address it will see the most vulnerable remain easy prey for the payday loan companies or the doorstep loan sharks.

Robin Newton MLA

DUP, East Belfast

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