Lords urged to act on legal loan sharks as male debt c...

Lords urged to act on legal loan sharks as male debt crisis grows

28 November 2012

More men than women are being pushed in to the clutches of legal loan sharks -and men are borrowing on average nearly £100 a month more than women - according to survey tracking working people’s lives through the economic crisis for Britain’s largest union, Unite.

As living standards are squeezed and government austerity bites, the survey highlights a growing debt crisis among the nation’s men, with 64 per cent saying they had to borrow from lenders and legal loan sharks compared to 36 per cent of female respondents.

On average men are borrowing a massive £381 per month just to make ends meet, compared to £282 per month for women.

The survey involving a total of 2,036 respondents comes as Unite urges members of the House of Lords to back Lord Mitchell’s amendment aimed at capping payday lender interest rates in today’s (Wednesday 28 November) debate on the Financial Services bill. 

The findings also show how young people are being plunged in to a life of debt with males in their 20s borrowing on average £397 and women £308 per month.

Commenting, Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said: “We urge the House of Lords to back Lord Mitchell and cap the extortionate payday lender interest rates which are crippling hard-pressed families across the UK.

“Falling living standards and government austerity are forcing ordinary working people into the clutches of these legal loan sharks. Their eye watering interest rates, up to 4,000 per cent a year, are trapping people in a spiral of debt.

“Men are at the sharp end of this debt crisis as they turn to pay day vultures to pay the bills, put food on the table and make ends meet.

“We need a cap to halt the vicious cycle of payday loan misery and stop a generation of young men and women falling in to a lifetime of high interest debt.” 

A power point presentation of the survey which was conducted via text message is available from 


For further information contact Alex Flynn, Unite head of media and campaigns, on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665 869.
Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.