A man who says his life was ruined by an illegal loan shark has issued a stark warning to others who may be struggling with Christmas debt.
How would the Government be seen to perform if it judged itself by the same standards at the business world?
Public sector net borrowing has risen by more than expected, to £8.6 billion in October, adding pressure on Chancellor George Osborne.
Public sector net borrowing fell to £15.1 billion in March, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
This was down £1.6 billion from March 2012 when net borrowing stood at £16.7 billion.
If you have borrowed from an unlicensed lender or 'loan shark' you have not broken the law, they have. Here are some sources of advice:
- 24/7 confidential advice - 0300 555 2222
- Text ‘loan shark and your message’ to 60003
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Send a Facebook message to www.facebook.com/stoploansharks
Unlicensed lenders - often called 'loan sharks' - operate illegal money lending businesses without a licence from the Office of Fair Trading. Here are some clues for identifying them:
- Rarely offers paperwork to keep borrowers unsure of how much they owe
- Charge extortionate rates of interest (rates of 131,000% APR have been seen)
- Add additional amounts to the debt so borrowers struggle to repay
- Take items such as passports of bank cards as security
- Employ extreme methods to reclaim their debts, including violence and intimidation
Source: England Illegal Money Lending Team
President Barack Obama has he would be willing to take over authority for raising the borrowing limit, saying the the US is "not a deadbeat nation".
Obama was asked at a news conference about differences he is having with congressional Republicans over raising the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling that the country is expected to hit as soon as the middle of next month.
"This is about paying your bills," he said. "We've got to stop lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis."
– Treasury statement
The economy is healing, but it still faces many challenges. These numbers illustrate that, but also show the Government's plans to bring spending under control are on track for the year.
In October Government spending continued to outstrip the amount of money it received in tax:
- Total tax receipts were 1.8% higher at £47.5 billion, but total expenditure rose 7.4% to £52.8 billion
- Tax revenues were dragged down by a drop in corporation tax, which fell 9.5% to £8.1 billion
- Spending on social benefits, such as state pensions, jumped 7.7% to £16 billion
- Public sector net debt now stands at £1.1 trillion
Worse than expected borrowing figures for the Government in October mean George Osborne has less wriggle room in the mini-budget next month. In part, worse than expected borrowing figures are due to the Corporation Tax the Government collects from business sliding down.