Campaigners to hit the streets in credit union fight

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Campaigners fighting to save Mansfield’s credit union will be taking to the streets tomorrow (Saturday, 7th September) as part of a last-ditch bid to keep the service open and force mayor Tony Egginton to honour a pledge to keep them afloat.

Coun Sonya Ward, deputy leader of the Labour group on Mansfield District Council, and vicar Rev Keith Hebden will be collecting signatures outside high street money lenders in the town between 10am and 12 noon as part of a plan to force a debate at the next meeting of the authority’s full council.

At a meeting of the authority held in January, it was agreed that £45,000 would be set aside to help fund the Nottingham Credit Union’s (NCU) Mansfield branch and the town’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) as part of the authority’s 2013-14 budget.

Members agreed that the cash would be deducted from the £91,094 allocated to cabinet members for expenses for the same financial period.

The money was set aside as part of a council bid to support ethical lenders in Mansfield, and fight the booming growth in legal loan sharks.

But politicians have accused Mr Egginton of trying to scupper the deal by delaying the payment and have now created the petition to force a debate at full council.

Coun Ward (pictured) said: “Local authorities around the country are getting behind credit unions as a way of combating legal loansharks and payday lenders, but in Mansfield we seen to be going the other way.

““The majority of people in Mansfield using high street loan sharks are on low wages. These companies profit from their poverty.

“If Mr Egginton stalls this payment any longer and the credit union closes, he is leaving the way totally clear for these companies to abuse people’s misfortune in Mansfield.”

Coun Ward and Rev Hebden will be outside Cash Traders, in Leeming Street, from 10am, before moving onto The Money Shop and Abermarle Bond, in the Market Square, Cash Express in Church Street, and the Cheque Centre, close to Mansffield Library.

To sign the petition online, go to http://petitions.mansfield.gov.uk/NCU-CAB.