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Doorstep lending worries in Dumfries

The amount of interest charged by pay-day lenders is often in the headlines - but in Dumfries and Galloway it's so-called Doorstep Lending that's causing concern.

The Citizens Advice Service is reporting a 42 per cent increase in this kind of lending, and borrowers can be charged repayment rates of up to a thousand per cent.

Their latest figures for the area suggest that the most money is owed in Dumfries, totalling almost £160,000.

Although the figures are smaller elsewhere, each individual debt can of course spell financial misery for those concerned.

Earlier Ian Payne spoke to Sue Irving, the Chief Executive of the Citizens Advice Service, and asked what this can mean for families.

Tyne Tees

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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Tyne Tees

The dangers of high interest borrowing

by Rachel Sweeney

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.

Tyne Tees

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.”

Loan shark campaign hits the streets of Carlisle

Loan sharks are being targetted in Carlisle as part of a crackdown on illegal money lending.

Trading standards officers and the police are handing out leaflets in the city centre warning people about the dangers of borrowing money from unregulated lenders.

They're also warning loan sharks that there will be a zero tolerance approach to those taking advantage of people struggling in these tough financial times.

Advice against using loan sharks

The mascot 'Sid the Shark' will be touring the street of Carlisle offering advice against using loan sharks.

Trading Standards, in partnership with the England Illegal Money Lending Team, have been hosting the 'Week of Action.'

It aims to raise awareness of illegal money lending and reward people who join Carlisle Credit Union.

The week has included training sessions for officers and councillors from the county and city council and school visits and lessons in Loan Shark awareness.

Also the first 100 Cumbrians who join the Carlisle Credit Union during the week will have the £1 membership waived.

The 'Week of Action' and the Credit Union initiative is being funded via cash confiscated from illegal money lenders, giving it back to the local communities affected by loan sharks.

"This will put illegal loan sharks in the spotlight and help prevent the hard-pressed in our communities falling victim. This sends a clear message that illegal money lending will not be tolerated under any circumstances."

– Angela Jones, Cumbria County Council's Trading Standards Manager

"We are continuing to crack down on this crime and bring offenders to justice. Loan sharks may appear friendly at first but they are not a community service, they are motivated only by greed and will resort to the most callous methods to force borrowers into paying back above and beyond, what they have borrowed and can afford. We would urge anyone who is aware of illegal money lending activity to report the crime in confidence on 0300 555 2222."

– Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team

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