Actor Michael Sheen champions new scheme to end high-cost credit
More than 50 voluntary members will be brought together in the End High Cost Credit Alliance.
Hollywood star Michael Sheen has founded a new scheme to provide “fairer alternatives” to mainstream rent-to-own firms and payday lenders.
He told BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme that the End High Cost Credit Alliance wants to create a social movement bringing together 50 partners.
It will invest in not-for-profit companies to compete against high-cost credit providers.
Mr Sheen, who has appeared in Frost/Nixon, The Queen and the Twilight series, said the alliance will tackle “those who unfairly target the most vulnerable in society”.
Excellent to see @michaelsheen launch @EHCCAlliance today - low income families pay huge amounts to rent-to-own, usually at unbelievable rates. Join us to campaign to #EndHighCostCredit - https://t.co/2JTjeV8pOA pic.twitter.com/2vB10qLhy6— End Child Poverty (@EndChildPoverty) March 20, 2018
He said the scheme would focus on helping those excluded from mainstream credit and forced to turn to high-cost credit as an alternative.
The actor, who will speak at a Responsible Finance 18 conference in Glasgow on Tuesday, said he wanted to see a change in the sector that benefits borrowers and lenders.
The alliance wants to invest in not-for-profit organisations that provide “fairer alternatives” for low-income families helping them to compete with “high-cost credit competitors”.
More than 50 voluntary members, including representatives of think tanks, public health bodies and credit experts, will be brought together under the alliance.
Sheen said it aims to create a “social movement” that hopes to drive change to policy and regulation, and improve financial education for young people.
He has used his own money to finance the umbrella organisation after hearing of people using high-cost credit through his work with support organisations and charities.
The Financial Conduct Authority told the BBC programme it had engaged with “a wide variety of groups, such as the End High Cost Credit Alliance, to ensure credit is sensibly available to those with lower incomes and means.
“We want to see more options and the emergence of ‘mid-cost credit’.”