No place for Loan Sharks in Dundee

Today I have said that there is no place for Loan Sharks in Dundee. I was responding to claims by Tayside Police that Loan Sharks were operating in Dundee and that this was leading to other crimes such as shop-lifting. I believe that there should be a wide range of financial solutions available to people across the city, such as credit unions. I'm also concerned that changes to welfare provision from the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Government will lead people into more financial hardship.

There can be place for Loan Sharks in Dundee. The police, the council, voluntary organisations and financial organisations should be ensuring that there are viable alternatives to loan sharks right across the city.

I support credit unions and I think that the council should be looking to see what extra we can do to support Discovery Credit Union so that it can take its work right across the city. Credit Unions offer low-cost loans to people and hopefully keep them out of the hands of loan sharks. We also need to be sure that people understand credit and what they will have to pay back if they take out credit.

We should also be very concerned about the high cost of credit from some high-street lenders. I support my colleague Stella Creasy MP's campaign against what she calls 'Legal Loans Sharks'. Her campaign calls for caps to be imposed on the cost of legal credit. This has led amongst other things to a review by the Office of Fair Trading into so-called 'payday' loans.'

There are also problems caused by banks, some of which we own, withdrawing their services from large parts of the community, as we have seen with bank closures in Dundee over the past couple of years.

Everyone must do all we can to stop loan sharks operating in Dundee. These people exploit other people's misery and cause more problems than they solve.