Big Issue founder calls for fairer access to credit for those in poverty

An attempt to provide fairer access to more affordable credit for people living in poverty moves a stage further on Friday.

A Bill put forward by Lord Bird, founder of The Big Issue magazine, will reach the committee stage in the House of Lords, moving it closer to being considered in the Commons.

At present, the rental payments of the UK's 11 million renters are not recorded or recognised in the same way as mortgages.

Under Lord Bird's Creditworthiness Assessment Bill, credit service providers will be required to take rental and council tax payments into account when assessing a borrower's creditworthiness.

Lord Bird said the move would help people from falling into the high-cost "credit poverty trap" and bolster the financial resilience of lower-income households.

Ahead of the committee stage, Lord Bird said:  "My Creditworthiness Assessment Bill will put right a long-standing economic injustice by providing equal access to affordable credit, puncturing the poverty premium.

"Though we're beginning to turn the dial towards inclusion, the Government needs to remember that the poorest have been paying through the nose for everyday things for decades.

"When you combine the impact of the poverty premium with reports that up to a third of millennials face renting their entire lives, it's time to offer 'Generation Rent' a much-needed hand up.

"That's why I continue to call on the Government to embrace my Bill and help lead the campaign to make rent count."

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