Campaigners demand an end to loan sharking

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The Independent Online

More than 100 MPs are backing a campaign to end legal loan sharking by signing a parliamentary motion calling for a cap on the cost of credit.

"Loan sharks are a scourge that exploits those on low incomes in desperate situations," says Helen Goodman, Labour MP for Bishop Auckland. "The Government must urgently take steps to give the same protection to vulnerable customers that is offered to others."

Campaigners are meeting with government advisers this week to ask why it is not tackling the pernicious high-cost credit sector. "We're confident that the Government will do the right thing and protect our most vulnerable citizens," says Gavin Hayes, the general secretary of Compass, who is taking the fight to Downing Street.

The campaign is demanding a cap on the cost of credit as Britain's poorest borrowers pay the highest price for credit in Europe. Meanwhile, the Office for Fair Trading estimates that the sector makes £16,000 in profit every hour. "The payday loan and pawnbroker business is now worth £2bn a year, money which is extracted from our poorest communities," said Mr Hayes.

The campaign's website is at

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