Loan shark warnings to desperate ‘back to school’ families

23 Aug 2022
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Are you feeling that ‘back to school’ fear?

Many families are dreading the end of summer and having to fork out for new school uniforms, with the average costing £315 per primary school pupil and £337 per secondary pupil, according to the Children’s Society.

Households that are already struggling due to the cost-of-living crisis could be at risk of falling victim to predatory lenders offering quick cash loans at terrifying rates.

Exorbitant interest as high as 100,000% and accompanying threats leave borrowers trapped in a cycle of debt for years.

The Stop Loan Sharks team at The England Illegal Money Lending Team are running a campaign to make sure families get access to safe, responsible sources of financial information and support this summer.

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said: “Back to school is always an expensive time of year for parents and with household budgets already stretched, loan sharks will be looking for any opportunity to exploit those most in need.

“These unlicensed lenders can have a hugely detrimental impact on our communities, trapping vulnerable people in a spiral of debt and resorting to the most extreme methods to claim back their illegal loans.”

Nearly half of people who borrow from illegal lenders use the cash for everyday expenses and bills, including school uniforms.

Loan sharks target vulnerabilities – emotional, financial or psychological – and use ruthless and sometimes deadly tactics to get their money back.

It is important parents know the dangers of loan sharks so they can spot opportunistic lenders who, at the time, may seem like a friend helping them out.

Look out for loan shark warning signs including no loan paperwork, refusing to give detailed information about the loan, intimidation, withholding items such as a bank card or passport until the debt is paid, and taking things from you if you do not pay on time.

Financial help for families

Warrington Housing Association’s money advice officer Steven Higham said: “Borrowing from loan sharks can easily lead to disastrous consequences. You should always look elsewhere for help with the costs of sending your child to school.

“While Warrington Council may not be helping with the cost of buying new school uniforms it has shared advice about other support available in the borough. Check if your child can get free school meals.

“Use the free and confidential Turn2Us Benefits Calculator to find out what benefits you are entitled to claim or come and talk to the WHA money advice team.

“It is never too late to seek help if you’re struggling with debt. Citizens AdviceStepChange and National Debtline  provide expert advice.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by loan sharks, you can access confidential advice on the Stop Loan Sharks 24-Hour Helpline on 0300 555 2222 or their website.


“Thank you so much for your help in getting me set up in my new home” 

Anonymous – WHA Resident

“We’re really grateful for the excellent service we received from Warrington Housing Association’s Money Adviser and the extra money has made a big difference, helping us hire a gardener and be able to go to LifeTime more often where we enjoy singing in the choir”

Mr & Mrs Holland – WHiA Customers

“I’m so grateful to Warrington Housing Association for reaching out to me to make sure I’m claiming my full benefit entitlements”

Ms Heseltine – WHA Resident

“We couldn’t have navigated the benefits system without the fantastic help we received from Warrington Housing Association’s Money Adviser”

Andrew & Eileen – WHA Residents

“I felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that I had somebody on my side”

Barbara, WHA resident

Warrington Housing Association 

Contact Us

Tel: 01925 246810
Fax: 01925 246814

Warrington Housing Association, the Gateway, 89 Sankey Street, Warrington, WA1 1SR