Monthly Archives: October 2013

Pay Ahead, Stay Ahead

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I was delighted to help launch Pay Ahead, Stay Ahead – a three year project to help young Birmingham tenants to get off to a positive start.

If you’re aged between 16 and 24 and either a first time social housing tenant or considering social housing, then Pay Ahead, Stay Ahead is for you! The scheme helps young people develop the life and money management skills they need to sustain a tenancy; offers advice and support from mentors and  opportunities for work placements and volunteering.

For more information, visit payaheadstayahead.com or call the team for free on 0800 160 1990.

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Policing update

The local policing team’s weekly report is out now.  You can read a copy by following this link.

There has been an increase in shoplifting incidents over the last few weeks.  The police team have produced a handy guide to help local shopkeepers with making their businesses more secure.  Click here to download your copy.

Big Gig at The Pump set for 31 October

Big Gig At The Pump

Birmingham Fair Money

 

Birmingham Fair Money launch

Earlier this month, I was pleased to help launch Birmingham Fair Money, a new campaign against illegal money lenders and legal high interest lenders in our city.

At this moment, we have high cost lenders trading in Birmingham who lend at APR rates of well over 1,000%. If you then add on their late payment and roll over fees these loans inflate very quickly. The result is rapid and brutal. Many of the clients of these companies are trapped in a spiral of unfair debt from which it is difficult to escape.

On top of that, we have cases of vulnerable people falling prey to unscrupulous illegal loan sharks.

Birmingham Fair Money is all about providing an ethical and affordable alternative for local people.  Working with Citysave Credit Union and Moneyline, we’ve brought together a number of not for profit, community based lenders providing affordable and responsible lending.

A central loans shop, known as the Cabin, has now opened on Lower Bull Street in the city centre. It will be staffed by Citysave staff and community volunteers and will be open to the public from Tuesday 1st October to Christmas Eve.  The Cabin has been funded with proceeds of crime money taken from convicted illegal money lenders and the England Illegal Money Lending Team, a specialist enforcement team who are based in Birmingham will be highlighting the dangers of illegal loan sharks and encouraging anyone who has been a victim of this crime to come forward.

As well as being able to visit the Cabin for a loan, you can also access information online at www.birminghamfairmoney.org.uk, which holds details of all of the not-for-profit lenders involved, along with other useful advice on maximising your income or getting help with debts and managing your money.

We’re also continuing to keep the loan sharks under pressure. To report a loan shark, you can call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222, text the word ‘loan shark’, together with your message, to 60003, email via reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk, or send a private Facebook message to the team at www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject.

Local police report

The latest update from the Shard End Ward police team is now available.  Download your copy by clicking here.

City Council takes a stand on Bedroom Tax

At this month’s meeting of the City Council, I moved a resolution calling on the Government to abolish the Bedroom Tax and setting out the steps we are taking, here in Birmingham, to deal with the effects of this pernicious measure.

The resolution, which you can read by clicking here, received the unanimous support of all Labour Councillors. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats chose not to register a vote.

You can watch the full debate by following this link. If you, a friend or family member are affected by Bedroom Tax or any of the other welfare changes, please visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/welfarereform or drop me a line via the Contact Me page.