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Haringey’s finance chief has declared war on “legal loan sharks” who offer short-term payday loans to hard-up customers in the borough - but hit them in the wallet with sky-high interest charges.

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Cllr Joe Goldberg, cabinet member for finance, wants residents in financial difficulty to seek help from the Haringey and Islington Credit Union rather than try high street alternatives or those online who might exploit those who can least afford it.

Interest rates with some firms can be above 1,000 per cent if repayments are missed, he said.

As an alternative, the credit union can help those who are financially excluded, and Cllr Goldberg said he would encourage the union to bid for grants from the council’s new One Borough, One Future Fund.

He said: “Tackling inequality is about housing, jobs and skills but also about ensuring everyone can get fair financial support when they need it and are not exploited by money lenders who charge interest rates far higher than ordinary banks, and that make paying off debt nearly impossible.

“Being a member of a credit union - a great co-operative tradition - is a great way for people to save a little and at the same time access credit when they need it on a more sustainable footing.”

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