The charity StepChange has revealed figures today (Thursday 14th November) showing that Scotland ‘leads the UK’ in the numbers of people in debt to payday lenders.
Responding, Citizens Advice Scotland’s Policy Manager Keith Dryburgh says the CAB service is not surprised by the figures, given the rise in payday loan cases we have seen at CABs in recent years. He says:
“Payday Loans are one of the main issues that we see today in the Scottish CAB service. This year we are seeing over 100 cases every week of people who are having problems with a payday lender. That’s an increase of a third in such cases since this time last year.
“Having asked many of our clients how they have got into these difficulties, we’ve found that many payday lenders operate in ways that ensure people will get into debt they can’t handle. Some lenders routinely target low-income groups, mislead about their charges, impose massive interest rates and then employ drastic efforts to recover the debt. The industry had promised to clean up its act, but our evidence is that lenders are still operating in ways that are bound to hurt vulnerable people and trap them in long-term debt. And these sorts of debts really do destroy peoples’ lives. Not just their finances but their health and relationships as well.
“Our message to Scots today is that if you have got into debt you can’t handle, don’t just take out more loans. Get advice. The CAB offers free, confidential advice on how to get control of your debt. And to people who might be considering taking out a loan we say: Be very careful about what you get into. Payday Loans might seem convenient today, but they can lead to years of misery. Again, get advice before you borrow. And shop around. There are other sources of credit, which offer a better deal, are easier to repay and will save you from crisis.”
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For more information or to arrange CAS interviews, contact Tony Hutson – 07774 751655. This is a number for journalists only, for advice try Citizens Advice Direct on 0808 800 9060.
The StepChange report, ‘Scotland In the Red,’ is published Thursday 14 Nov. It shows the details of the debts of their clients, and the most dramatic rise in Scotland has been in payday lending, with 18.2 percent of their clients having at least one payday loan debt in June 2013. This compares to 9 percent of clients in Scotland in 2012, 5.9 percent in 2011 and 2.6 percent in 2010.
For more details on their figures, contact Moray.firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: 0141 270 1441 / 07908 130552.