The new findings on payday loans released by Christians Against Poverty are deeply concerning. They highlight the desperate lengths that people are going to in order to pay their soaring bills, feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.
It is particularly worrying that many of the payday loan companies do not check that individuals have sufficient income to pay them back.
With 80% taking out more than one loan to repay existing borrowing, coupled with interest rates as high as 4,000 per cent, it is all too easy for people to end up trapped in a spiral of debt that is difficult to escape.
We know through our own research that many people on low incomes are just not aware of the welfare benefits or charitable funds available to them. We found that almost half (48%) of people who were unemployed and had taken out a payday loan had never checked their welfare benefits eligibility.
Yet benefits and charitable funds exist to help those experiencing financial hardship - something that could happen to anyone one of us at any time due to illness, job loss, family breakdown and other unexpected circumstances.
We would urge anyone who is struggling to consider all their options. They can use our free website tools at www.turn2us.org.uk to check their entitlements to benefits and tax credits, and see if they are eligible for one of 3,000 charitable grants, which could make all the difference to their situation.Alison Taylor