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Police warn against using loan sharks

Poster campaign warns of dangers of using loan sharks Credit: GMP

Greater Manchester Police are warning people not to use loans sharks if they're struggling to afford the cost of Christmas.

An estimated 310,000 households across the country are in debt to a loan shark, and the force says with Christmas approaching there are fears more people will be targeted. 20% of victims in previous cases took out a loan to pay for Christmas.

During the week of activity, police and partner organisations will visit schools and community centres, as well as holding special educational events across the region to raise awareness of loan sharks, and provide people with alternatives and assistance if they are struggling financially.

A poster campaign will warn against using loan sharks in areas where they are known to have been operating. Police are also promising enforcement action to take loan sharks off the streets.

“Loan sharks usually appear helpful at first, but they quickly trap their borrowers into spiralling debt. As the debts can’t be legally enforced and claimed back through the courts, many lenders will resort to the most extreme tactics to enforce repayment including threats, violence and intimidation.

"These people create fear and anxiety, and exploit vulnerable people with their savage debt collecting system. They often play a key role in funding organised crime groups and that is why we are working with partners to find them, and stop them.

"By taking these lenders off the streets we are effectively removing the funds they have to fund other criminality or illegal possessions such as firearms or drugs. I want communities to know that they do not have to live in fear – speak out and we will act immediately on any information received."

– Detective Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson

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Anti-austerity protest in Manchester

The march will protest at cuts and provide help for the homeless, say organisers Credit: PA

A march against government cuts is planned for Piccadilly Gardens later.

The 'Stand Up To Austerity' protest was organised by two young men who wanted to ensure that the General Election result wasn't the final word on the cuts.

They're asking people to come to the event with provisions for homeless people in Manchester.

New report on struggle facing low income families

A major new report will look into poverty exploring the problems facing working families in Liverpool. Credit: PA Wire

A major new report will look into poverty exploring the problems facing working families in Liverpool. Researchers followed 30 families over a 12-month period, through weekly spending diaries tracking their income and expenditure and then followed-up by detailed face-to-face interviews.

The report is all the more eloquent and compelling becomes it comes out of the mouths of those directly affected. It is simply heart-breaking and maddening that so many people are struggling to get by like this. It isn’t their fault. These are proud working people, not ‘scroungers’. They are getting up for work every day so they can set an example to their kids.

– Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool
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