ECHO COMMENT: High-interest loans can put you slippery road to ruin
THERE is perhaps more reason than ever for people to end up in financial crisis these days.
With the recession continuing to bite, and the lack of job opportunities, many have found that a small debt can quite easily build into a big one.
Many finance companies remain happy to arrange loans at high levels of interest that debtors only really become aware of when repayments start to be made.
Often this can follow an unexpected redundancy, which is what seems to have happened in the case of Matthew Mann.
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When the treasurer of Seagrave Management Company lost his job twice in a year, he took out loans to try to ensure he could still cope.
And when that failed, he took the drastic step of forging cheques. The money came from payments that fellow residents thought were going towards the running costs of the Pittville Lawn flats where they lived.
Mann’s abuse of his position of public trust has not surprisingly cost him his liberty. He is today starting a 28-month jail sentence.
Most people in his position, no matter how precarious their finances, would not stoop to theft.
But the strongest message to come from the whole sorry saga is to try to take a rational decision rather than a panicking one when things do get tough.
Take advice from your bank or a recognised organisation like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. They won’t be able to wipe out your debts, but they will be able to try to help you manage them properly.
You certainly won’t be told to take out a high-interest loan - or break the law.
THE Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway continues to go from strength to strength despite having more than its fair share of problems.
Coping with the landslips that have put key parts of the line from Cheltenham Racecourse out of use over the last three years would have finished off many charities.
But the enthusiasm of the volunteers that run it has meant that far from going under, they have yet more plans to expand and improve.
As GWR launched its new summer programme, it appealed for more support from local businesses. The tourism industry should be shouting about it from the rooftops - it’s a real positive for the county.