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Charity to double its help with debt problems
A Bradford-debt counselling charity is to double its help for the city, as it warned against the dangers of loan sharks in the light of parents being “ambushed” for payments at school gates.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has revealed it has been in talks with a church to open a debt centre in October, to add to the existing centre it runs in partnership with the Light Church. The news comes as the charity advised people to visit credit unions following a Telegraph & Argus report yesterday of terrified parents being pressured for payments by loan shark ‘heavies’ with vicious dogs at school gates.
One incident saw a primary school headteacher forced to intervene as a thug with a bull terrier harassed a distraught young mother for cash as she picked up her child.
A CAP spokesman said: “This is a particularly nasty example of the way loan sharks can operate. It's not like dealing with any other creditor because there's often no paperwork and the person can't keep track of how much they have paid and the interest rate can fluctuate at a whim.
“The loan shark may start off by being friendly and appearing easygoing – and they often target single women – but the security against the loan is essentially your health and safety. It becomes extortion by another name.”
The spokesman advised those in need of money and having to borrow to visit a credit union.
The spokesman said: “If you're already involved with a loan shark, remember it is illegal and it is the lender who has committed the crime, not you. Call the Illegal Money Lending Team and go to one of the free debt-counselling agencies because if you've gone to a loan shark you'll probably have other debts too and it's no way to live.”
Councillor Ralph Berry , the executive member for Children’s Services, said that he welcomed the help.
“We need the earliest intervention and as much support from the credit unions as possible,” he said. “Their work is well regarded in the city.”