COUNCIL bosses are urging Wigan residents to resist the temptation to use payday lenders and loan sharks this Christmas.
Wigan Council has launched a borough-wide marketing campaign to encourage the use of affordable solutions such as credit unions as an alternative. And those already in debt are being advised to seek help and advice rather than ignore the problems.
Leader Lord Smith said: “These payday lenders and loan sharks prey on the vulnerable, offering a quick-quid to those in financial hardship in return for extortionate interest rates. Borrowing money from these lenders will never solve your financial woes. I understand the pressure people feel to buy expensive presents at Christmas, but it’s important not to get into debt for the sake of one day of the year.
“Instead, we’re advising residents to seek financial help from their local credit union.”
In November, the local authority joined others around the country in restricting access to payday loan websites from council servers and advertising space.
And Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue has long campaigned for tougher regulation to help prevent sky-high interest rates.
Ms Fovargue and Wigan colleague Lisa Nandy MP, alongside charities, debt and anti-charity organisations, have called on the Government in recent months to impose tighter rules on payday lenders through the Charter to Stop the Payday Loan Rip-off.
Coun Terry Halliwell, cabinet member for transformation, warned that those finding themselves in debt could be drawn in by the convenience offered by lenders but are then caught out by the interest rates.
He said: “Payday lenders use catchy advertising campaigns to promote their services - making the process look simple, clear and easy, but what they fail to warn people about are the dangers of taking out a loan. For example, someone who has taken out a series of payday loans may struggle to get a mortgage in the future. It’s about time the small print was exposed.”
For more information, contact www.wigan.gov.uk/moneyadvice or call 01942 489019.