New credit union

Grahame Morris MP (left) with East Durham Credit Union officer David Snowden and East Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) member Terry Murray

Grahame Morris MP (left) with East Durham Credit Union officer David Snowden and East Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) member Terry Murray

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EASINGTON MP Grahame Morris is helping families to cope better with their finances with the launch of a new scheme.

Mr Morris has launched the East Durham Credit Union, which will provide wider access to a community-based low-cost savings and loans club.

This will be achieved through the development of at least 14 new collection points and by increasing Credit Union membership in east Durham by 600 to 850.

Mr Morris has signed up to the credit union and has praised its vital work to tackle the UK’s debt crisis.

He said: “I cannot overstate the importance of the East Durham Credit Union at this time when many families are struggling to make ends meet.

“Original sale prices are often inflated and customers on credit pay over the odds for household and electrical goods.

“They drive the poorest people into debt and poverty.

“Credit Unions are a vital facility to protect the UK’s three million poorest borrowers, who often have no option other than the high cost, short-term credit market, pay day loan companies or illegal loan sharks.

“Interest rates charged by some unscrupulous pay day loan companies can be up to 3,000 percent APR equivalent.

“High debt repayments have an immense effect on society, pushing people in to the inescapable cycle of debt and poverty with high debt repayments linked to a number of social ills including rent, council tax and utility arrears, poor diets, cold homes as well as increased mental health problems related to anxiety and depression.

“It is vitally important people know that East Durham Credit Union is available, and is a better alternative than high cost, high credit stores.

“I am delighted to launch this Credit Union project in east Durham.”

East Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) has secured funding for a dedicated development officer who will be based at East Durham Trust and East Durham Homes.

Establishing a credit union has also seen the recruitment and training of volunteers.

The credit union will work alongside schools and colleges in east Durham to promote money management, having recognised the impact of debt on children and families.

It will also develop links with Sure Start centres and primary schools.