I wrote, edited and researched the ‘Drowning in Debt’ report for Church Action on Poverty (CAP).

Drowning in Debt

The report focuses on the little known buy-as-you-rent sector, whose shops sell white goods and appliances with interest rates of almost 70 per cent.

They sector is increasingly dominating some of poorest high streets in the UK.

Almost 80 per cent of BrightHouse’s 271 shops are in the top 30 per cent most deprived areas of the UK.

People use them because the weekly repayments are so low – a washing machine from BrightHouse costs just £6 a week for 156 weeks.

But at a final cost of £936, this hardly represents a bargain.

The report outlines is what the sector needs to do to change – offer lower interest rates, better rates for better payers, transparent costings, free debt advice, no default charges, and share credit data – so that their customers can eventually get themselves out of debt and wean themselves back on to normal credit.

The Observer covered the report well here, using much of my research in an infographic.


I also developed a series of case studies in July 2011 as part of a joint anti-tax evasion campaign by Church Action on Poverty and Christian Aid.

The Seedley and Langworthy Trust was first created in 1997 to support the regeneration of a deprived area of Salford.

After receiving a three-year £390,000 Lottery grant in 2009, SALT was able to develop a number of innovative projects.

However, following the end of their funding, SALT is now facing an uncertain future.

Here, members describe how they feel about these cuts – and why tax evasion is unacceptable.

The Gerry Stone transcript is available here, the Irene Travis transcript here.