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New campaign for people struggling with debt

A new television and advert campaign aimed at highlighting the help available for people struggling with debt, has been launched by the Scottish Government.

The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is an initiative which helps people to pay back their debts over a reasonable period of time, based on the amount they owe and their current financial position.

DAS stops creditors using debt enforcement action and safeguards people's homes- as long as they keep up mortgage repayments.

Recent changes to the scheme means it also now freezes interest, fees and charges to prevent debts mounting up.

"The Scottish Government continues to take action, where it can, to address these problems and introduce measures to help those people in Scotland who are struggling under the burden of debt.

"The Debt Arrangement Scheme is the only government-backed scheme to help people pay back their debts in a dignified way, protecting them from the threat of action by their creditors.

"Our aim with this campaign is to raise awareness of DAS which helps people faced with the difficulties of debt to take control of their finances and get help out of the hole."

– Fergus Ewing, Enterprise Minister for Scotland
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Statement from Government on high-cost credit

The Department for Business has issued a statement after the release of a report today that concluded that the number of people relying on quick, high interest loans is rising.

The Government is currently looking at whether any action needs to be taken to address the problem, and about what action it might take.

Read the full statement from them below:

"The Government is concerned about problems in the high cost credit sector and is determined to address these, particularly for the most vulnerable people.

"The Office of Fair Trading have been conducting a compliance review of the payday sector and are due to issue their final report shortly. We strongly support any enforcement action they take forward and the steps they will take to improve standards across the sector."

– Spokesperson for the Department for Business

"Our intention is for the new Financial Conduct Authority to be given responsibility fo regulating consumer credit from 2014. This new regulator will have a diverse range of powers to address problems across all consumer credit markets.

"The Government is currently considering whether other action may be needed in the high cost credit sector."

– Spokesperson for the Department for Business

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The dangers of high interest borrowing

The number of people relying on quick, high interest loans is rising. The Centre for Responsible Credit says companies should share information about customers who are already in debt. The change would protect low income borrowers from irresponsible lenders.

Kath Simms and Kath Carter, both from Stockton, have stuggled with loans for years. They told ITV how easy it is to fall into financial ruin.

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Victims warn of door-step loan dangers

These women say high-interest loans have become 'the norm' for vulnerable people Credit: ITV News

Two Stockton mothers are warning others of the risks of taking out taking out high-interest loans. They say vulnerable people are being targeted by companies who knock on people's doors and are becoming 'the norm' and 'a credit line' for those who find it difficult to live within their means.

Teesside debt charity Thrive supports hundreds of people with cash problems.

Community organiser Greg Brown says, “We try to advise people on alternatives to high interest loans. We encourage people to stick up for themselves, challenge lenders and get what they are entitled to. We know what rights people have and help send people on the right way.”

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