Beware of loan sharks

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A new campaign has been a launched highlighting the danger of turning to high interest money lenders in the run up to the festive season.

People across the Falkirk area are urged to consider local credit unions as an ethical and affordable alternative to firms which offer payday loans.

Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald met with volunteers at Falkirk District Credit Union in Grangemouth recently and they gave him first hand accounts of the distress high interest lenders can cause people. His meeting coincided with the launch of The 12 Days of Debtmas campaign aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of payday loan firms and the viable alternatives. Mr MacDonald said: “I would encourage any of my constituents considering using high interest lenders in the run-up to Christmas to think twice before committing themselves to paying sky-high interest rates.

“Companies involved in this business are nothing short of legalised loan sharks and the sooner we can put a significant cap on their interest rates the better. I have seen the misery these vultures without conscience can cause at a local level.

“There is no doubt credit unions are the way forward and I would encourage everyone to support the credit union movement and open an account as soon as possible.”

Mr MacDonald’s visit came as the UK Government announced it would be introducing a new law to cap the cost of payday loans.

The Scottish Government’s enterprise minister Fergus Ewing welcomed the changes, but wanted them to go further.

He said: “I continue to press for firmer action to protect consumers.”