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Families turned to loan sharks over Christmas

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More than 100,000 families in the UK will be trying to pay off £82 million this year after borrowing money from illegal lenders to pay for Christmas.

That's according to a new report by housing association Circle Anglia and a think tank, called the Financial Inclusion Centre.

The research claims it was the worst Christmas in a generation for doorstep loans.

The average rate charged by loan sharks is 825 per cent, but can be as high as 1,500 per cent - that's nearly ten times the average credit card interest rate.

Andy Doylend from Circle Anglia says "The challenge in 2010, for all of us in the housing sector, is to make sure we reach out to our residents to make them aware of the availability and accessibility of affordable finance."

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