On Friday, he met staff at Life Amid Debt (LAD) at its office at the Volunteer Centre, St Neots, to see how it was helping a growing number of people to stay out of the clutches of payday lenders. With its headquarters at St Barnabas Church, Huntingdon, it also has an office at Paines Mill Foyer in St Neots. Mr Howitt, who is an advocate for the community and finance schemes of credit unions, said: The stigma attached to debt can make it hard to seek advice but Life Amid Debt can provide ­excellent financial advice and emotional support. The charity is to be ­congratulated for working so hard with other organisations in the community to help people cope with often seemingly impossible financial situations. In many localities the payday lenders and loan sharks pray upon those on low incomes and ­suffering hardship with no real alternatives at present. Community-based finance and money advice offers a better way, but access to these ­services can be limited. It is impressive to see the work of Life Amid Debt and I look forward to seeing further local initiatives to enable people to use credit unions, as they can help too in the fightback against the payday lenders. LAD chairman Ann Fryer said: Having a visit from MEP Richard Howitt is brilliant and recognises small charities and the good work that they do. To be singled out is an ­amazing achievement and endorsement for all the reasons I started Life Amid Debt (LAD) and the truly amazing team that work for it. For more information, call 01480 437048, 07768 681564, or visit www.lifeamiddebt.org.uk.