People living in ML postcode take out the biggest payday loans in Scotland

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The ML postcode has Scotland’s biggest payday loans per head of population according to figures from the Financial Conduct Authority.

Last year the equivalent of £23.87 was borrowed for every resident, as nearly 37,000 high-cost, short-term loans were taken out worth a total of £9.1m.

In 2015 a cap was brought in on how much lenders can charge, but ML still paid £5.9m in interest and fees.

Benefit cuts, low wages and zero-hours contracts were blamed for the huge number of loans being taken out.

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows said: “The roll-out of Universal Credit, which cuts incomes, rigged disability assessments, a minimum wage below the real living wage, precarious work through zero-hours contracts, and the two-child tax credit cap are all policies which are forcing people to turn to payday loans.”

North Lanarkshire Council has urged residents to use alternatives such as credit unions rather than payday lenders or other short-term, high interest loans.

The figures were obtained in a Freedom of Information request by Wagestream, an app which allows people to access their wages as they earn rather than waiting for the paycheck.

Wagestream founder Peter Briffett said: “Financial stress caused by the monthly pay cycle means people turn to payday lenders not out of choice but necessity, so it’s vital we replace this industry with something better.”