Serious personal debt ruins lives. It undermines mental and physical health, as well as employment prospects. And without work, there is little chance of paying off rapidly accumulating debts. As we have seen time and time again, poverty is both a cause and a consequence of serious personal debt.

For those who are ‘just about managing’, the strain of a broken boiler or washing machine can be overwhelming. Without access to the mainstream loans that many people take for granted, these families have no choice but to take out aggressively priced loans and struggle to pay them off. The resulting financial strain can be overwhelming and all too often, people in our poorest communities become trapped in a spiral of debt, which further entrenches their financial hardship.

Sign up to the CSJ Leader Column