Leonard Cheshire begins consumer debt onslaught

Leonard Cheshire this week issued its first salvo in what will be a year-long campaign to force the credit industry and the Government to tackle consumer debt among disabled people.

With credit-card, short-term loans and other consumer debt now past the £1 trillion mark in the UK, policy and campaigns manager Claire Kober said the charity would base its 2006 lobbying campaign around the issue, targeting the credit industry and the Government.

'In the first stage we will be highlighting problems disabled people have with consumer debt, then we will open a dialogue with the credit industry and the Government,' she said.

Leonard Cheshire's press team will target national and regional social affairs correspondents and disability and charity press. The charity has also commissioned TV footage for use on regional and national broadcast news programmes.

Kober said debt was an issue because evidence pointed to a 'failure to recognise the impact disability can have on borrowers' by the credit industry.

'People who are unemployed, on a low income or who live in social housing often struggle with debt, and  those criteria also often
apply to disabled people,' said Kober. 'But the initial reasons for disabled people finding themselves in debt are often complicated and therefore they need different solutions.'

On Wednesday the charity released its 'In the balance' report, showing 90 per cent of respondents ran out of money on a regular basis.

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