We have been raising issues such as lack of affordable housing in Wokingham, the length of the waiting list for council housing; the problems of the homeless and rough sleepers with Wokingham Borough Council for many years.
In previous years we have made representations nationally and locally about the impact of the ‘bedroom tax’, the benefits cap; the problems with the migration of clients from Incapacity Benefit to Employment and Support Allowance and the introduction of Personal Independence Payments (PIP). Today, we are raising issues with the poor administration of Universal Credit.
We succeeded with our campaign to challenge unfair lending by payday loan companies.
From 2012, we saw an increasing number of clients who had problems with payday loans. Such loans had interest rates of 4000%, lenders failed to conduct affordability checks and our clients’ debts quickly spiralled out of control.
We took part in a national Citizens Advice campaign on payday lenders, providing evidence to financial regulators on payday lenders’ behaviour. Our campaigning paid off and in February 2014, the Financial Conduct Authority announced stringent regulation of payday lenders and improved consumer protection. As a result, we are seeing far fewer clients with payday loan problems.