It is estimated that nearly two percent of the Scottish population – several hundred thousand people – are using instant cash loan companies to help pay the rent or mortgage payments and sinking further into debt as a result.
The figures were provided by the Scottish branch of Shelter, the organisation which campaigns for the homeless, which is worried about the growing dependence of the population on the short term loan industry and the implications for indebtedness on the chance that more and people could lose their homes.
Gordon McRae, a Shelter spokesman said that most people turned to the loan companies because they needed a quick fix, but the extremely high interest rates charged by the companies meant that it was very hard for many to pay them off by the date due.
It is thought that up to a million people across the U.K. as a whole are resorting to borrowing instant cash loans to get them through an immediate cash flow problem, while five million or more use credit cards or an overdraft to keep their heads above water.
An independent member of the Scottish parliament is now turning her focus on Westminster to try and get tougher laws against instant cash loan companies as she has been told that the regional Parliament is unable to legislate on debt.
Mrs Margo MacDonald says that she feels that Westminster is approaching a position where they are more likely to act on the matter. Meanwhile, Mike Dailly at the Govan Law Centre has told Mrs MacDonald not to give up with the Scottish Parliament as he thinks that it will take years for Westminster to bring in much needed legislation.
Shelter’s YouGov survey had been commissioned to find out the true extent of indebtedness and homelessness across the country. Mr McRae said the results of the survey were “extremely worrying.” He said that millions of people across the country were struggling to hold on to their homes across the country and having to rsort to quick fix loans like those provided by the short term loans companies was just making things worse.
Shelter’s Scottish branch found out that there were over forty one thousand people regarded as homeless last year, including twenty two thousand children, which was an increase of 25% since 2001.