MacDonald condemns rise in loan shark victims

 Falkirk District Credit Union

Angus meeting staff at Falkirk & District Credit Union

Across the UK, it is estimated 300,000 people borrow £120m a year from loan sharks, and spend £450m trying to pay it back. However, new figures from the Scottish Government suggest the number of Scots suffering at the hands of loan sharks has risen over the last four years, doubling the number of victims of illegal pay day lenders. The figures estimate that 85,000 Scottish people a year borrow from more than 150 separate illegal money lenders which operate across Scotland.

Although twice as many reports of Scottish victims of illegal lenders were acted on last year by the Scotland Illegal Money Lending unit, compared to when the Conservative-LibDem Coalition came to power in 2010, the figure only accounts for 0.7 per cent of actionable reports indicating that the real number of reports could be much higher.

It is also especially concerning that in today’s difficult financial climate more and more people are falling foul to pay day vultures, preying on the most vulnerable people in society, including the unemployed and single parent families.

As a result of the new statistics Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald has advised his constituents to avoid using pay day loan companies whose unscrupulous practices have caused tragic human suffering. The sky-high interest rates of 4000% are unacceptable, while the conduct of many illegal pay day lenders cause misery and wreck the lives of many vulnerable families each year.

People across Falkirk district are therefore urged to consider using their local credit union, such as the Falkirk District Credit Union in Grangemouth, as ethical and affordable alternatives which operate much more fairly and are easier to re-pay.

Following the Scottish Government’s welcomed introduction of a new law to cap the cost of pay day loans, it is hoped that more people in the Falkirk East constituency and the rest of Scotland will consider using local credit unions which are a sensible and credible method for saving money and obtaining short loans.

Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald says,

“The number of people within my constituency affected by these lending companies every day is seriously disconcerting. I wholly support the Scottish Government’s commitment in tackling the problem and encourage my constituents to seek advice from Credit Unions.

“Unfortunately, any significant change can only be made by the powers which reside at Westminster. It is only with the full powers of Scottish independence will we be able to put a stop to these immoral practices for good and remove payday vultures and legal and illegal loan sharks from our society.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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