THE Government has been criticised for refusing crisis loans to thousands of people, many believed to be local to West Somerset.
It follows the discovery the Liberal Democrats that applications for the loans, aimed at low-income families and pensioners unable to obtain credit elsewhere, rose by more than a third last year to 117,760.
But in the Westcountry, 35,200 people had their application turned down by the Government last year.
The figures come at a time when the Government has been encouraging banks to increase lending.
Theo Butt Philip (pictured), Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Bridgwater and West Somerset said: “People who apply for crisis loans are desperate and have nowhere else to turn, yet too often they get turned away when they need to get help.
“It is very worrying that with the recession hitting the South West hard, even more people will turn to the Government for help.
“Yet, the evidence for the past year is that more and more people will be turned away by Government-run JobCentre Plus.
“At a time when the Government is demanding that the banks lend more, here we have the Government itself doing the opposite.
“The Government has got to practice what it preaches to the banks and make more cash available to families through these loans.”