Around 50,000 people applied for micro-loans from supermarket Iceland in its first week after the scheme launched, the Big Issue can reveal.
The Iceland Food Club has been made available across the UK with people able to apply for loans between £25 and £100 to pay for groceries in the supermarkets’ stores. The loans, given out on pre-payment cards, are a response to the cost of living crisis.
Customers are able to pay back £10 per week under the scheme, which Iceland Foods’ managing director Richard Walker said was intended to tackle food insecurity.
From just £3 per week
But in a sign of the level of need across the UK, ethical lender Fair For You has been inundated with 50,000 applications – representing 50 customers for each of Iceland’s 1,000 stores – in its first week after the scheme went nationwide on August 16.
“The scale of applications received is an indication that there is a strong desire for this kind of ethical credit to help smooth out incomes.” said Simon Dukes, Fair for You chief executive.
“As an organisation we had plans in place to deal with the expected high level of demand, but the sheer volume means that we’re currently taking a little longer than usual to process applications, but we expect to return to normal service very soon.”