Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, is leading a local fight against illegal loan sharks and pay day lenders. This is part of a wider campaign by Scottish Labour which seeks to put loan sharks and pay day lenders out of business with a new interest-free loan scheme.
Jackie recently met with StepChange, a financial advice charity, which has estimated that there are nearly 700,000 people in Scotland who are already in debt, or are at risk of problem debt.
Further research by Scottish Labour has found that there are around 290,000 children in households without access to £500 to cover an unexpected, but necessary, expense such as repairing essential household items.
There are a number of high street pay day loan business in Dumbarton and the surrounding area including The Money Shop and Ramsdens which both operate on Dumbarton High Street. There are also far more online pay day lenders which many local people have to turn to when they find themselves in unexpected financial difficulty.
Scottish Labour’s proposed interest free loan scheme would seek to tackle this problem of pay day loans by making funds available for essential household items and furniture, and items which are essential for individuals to access employment opportunities such as a season ticket for travel, tools or clothes for a job interview.
Jackie Baillie said:
“Pay day lenders and loan sharks prey on the most vulnerable in our community and play into the desperate situations that many of us have found ourselves in when unexpected costs arise.
“I understand that the idea of having quick access to money when you are most in need of it is an attractive prospect, especially when you have a family to support but the levels of interest that these sharks impose on customers are astronomical and often leave individuals in a worse financial position than before they accessed the loan.
“I am glad to see that Scottish Labour is tackling this issue head on with interest free loans which will help thousands of people across my constituency.”