Council leaders are calling for tougher sentences for loan sharks who are pushing vulnerable people further into debt.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on people experiencing money problems to contact their local councils rather than turn to illegal money lenders who charge high interest rates and rely on extortion.
Figures show that the number of people claiming benefits has risen by 1,000% across the country since the start of the pandemic.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: 'These illegal loans typically come with astronomical interest rates, soon spiral into uncontrollable debt that can never be repaid, and are typically enforced through intimidation and violence.
'There are much better, safer and cheaper ways people can manage their money.'
The LGA is calling on the Government to consider and fully fund the role of councils in supporting low-income households with debt and repayment worries.