Fears families 'could turn to loan sharks' amid soaring cost of living

Glasgow politicians have raised concerns that illegal lenders could prey on struggling families this winter.

Fears Glasgow families ‘could turn to loan sharks’ amid soaring cost of living crisis iStock

More Glasgow families could be forced into the hands of loan sharks or payday lenders as it is predicted 95,000 households will survive on credit over coming months.

Councillor Audrey Dempsey raised concerns about an “increasing reliance on predatory lenders” and asked what the council will do to prevent it in the city.

Council leader Susan Aitken said “there is a real danger” that many relying on credit will turn to illegal lenders.

A council meeting heard social enterprise lender Scotcash, which is supported by the council, provide an alternative offering more affordable loans.

Speaking at a full council meeting on Thursday, SNP councillor Aitken said the Glasgow City Region Intelligence Hub “has predicted that across the region 95,000 households are going to be forced to rely on credit to get by over the coming months.”

She stated: “Given the limited access many of them will have to regulated lenders because of their credit history there is a real danger that many of those people will feel the need to turn to illegal lenders.

“The scourge of illegal lending in Glasgow is sadly nothing new and in recent years the council has become a founding member of Scotcash, a community lender offering loans to individuals who find it difficult to access mainstream lending and providing an alternative to high cost lending and most importantly illegal money lending.”

Asking about the potential of practical help, Labour councillor Dempsey said: “Is there any scope or possibility to provide lunch vouchers, parking vouchers, shopping vouchers discounted childcare and discounted travel cost?

“There are lots of possibilities out there. Is the administration willing to explore them?”

Councillor Aitken replied: “The short answer is yes, we are exploring them right now and implementing them.”

She pointed out work being carried out by the council including the distribution of £1m top up heating vouchers and the opening of warm banks next month – known as welcoming centres.

Council service Glasgow Helps – which supports people to get food, fuel, money advice and other matters was also mentioned by councillor Aitken.

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