Hollywood actor Michael Sheen has launched a new campaign to tackle high cost credit and provide "fairer" alternatives for those who use payday lenders and rent-to-own firms.

The Frost/Nixon actor today gave a keynote speech at the Responsible Finance Conference in Glasgow and announced details of his 'End High Cost Credit Alliance', which brings together over 50 organisations.

The Welsh actor, who is also a Unicef ambassador, hopes he will be able to make a difference tackling changes to regulation and policies and engaging in public debate, promoting workforce training and investing in fairer alternatives.

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What will the End High Cost Credit Alliance do?

The alliance wants to invest in not-for-profit organisations that provide "fairer alternatives" for low-income families helping them to compete with "high-cost credit competitors".

Sheen said that representatives of think tanks, public health bodies and credit experts will be brought together under the umbrella group.

He said that he hopes the alliance drives change to policy and regulation, and improves financial education for young people.

Tomorrow, the Royal Society for Public Health - a member of the alliance - will publish a report revealing the impact of high cost credit on consumers.

Sheen: 'I want to tackle those who unfairly target the most vulnerable'

In a statement released ahead of his speech today, Sheen said: "We designed the Alliance to take a collaborative approach to the issues around high cost credit and to tackling those who unfairly target the most vulnerable in our society.

"Collectively and strategically we will be getting behind organisations, providers and initiatives that seek to improve access to fairer credit and support across communities in the UK as well as addressing the wider welfare needs of those where credit is not the right option.

"Our message is simple - credit is good, but not in a system where it is unfairly targeted and maximised for profit over social impact.

"The Alliance is my way of bringing profile, resources and collaboration to one of the biggest issues facing communities in the UK."

Speaking today, he added: "For the last seven or eight years I have becoming increasingly involved with a whole range of voluntary organisations, groups and projects and individuals from all across the UK working and supporting people who are going through a hard time.

"It's been literally life-changing."

Sheen said he would be scaling down his acting career and shifting the focus of his life to helping those struggling to get credit.

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