Campaign targets high interest Christmas loans

Picture of money'Photo by Emma Mitchell'18/2/13
Picture of money'Photo by Emma Mitchell'18/2/13

DEBT charities have warned of an explosion in payday lending problems — prompting the Scottish government to launch a pre-Christmas campaign.

According to StepChange, there has been a dramatic rise in debts from payday lending, with 18.2 per cent of the people it has helped in the first half of 2013 having at least one of the high interest loans — double the amount in 2012 and seven times the 2010 figures.

The charity has recorded higher numbers of payday lending debts in Scotland than in England, Wales or Northern Ireland — prompting Holyrood’s 12 Days of Debtmas campaign, launched this week.

Enterprise minister Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish government is very concerned about the impact that high interest borrowing, especially before Christmas, has on people.

“The campaign raises awareness of credit unions and promotes their affordable lending solutions. It costs significantly less to borrow money from a credit union than taking out a payday loan, and you receive much more support.”

As reported in The Extra, East Renfrewshire and Glasgow city councils have blocked access to payday loan websites from council computers.

The move at ERC was a result of a motion by councillor Ian McAlpine. Following the council block, he told The Extra: “People are getting themselves into debt and don’t know how they’re going to pay it back —it’s not explained properly.

“It’s far too easy to access — there’s little credit checking, and no references required. It really is a nightmare situation.”

The advice for any facing financial difficulties is to contact the council’s money advice service on 0800 052 1023, or at money@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk.