A SURVEY aimed at people who have accessed high interest loans and payday lenders is being launched today in a bid to find out the extent of the problem in Penzance and Newlyn.
The online survey has been devised by Cornwall councillor Tim Dwelly with the help of the Cornwall Befriending Service.
He believes that many local people may be affected.
"It's something I've come across in my work as a councillor – people are concerned about the outrageous levels of interest that are being charged by payday lenders," said Mr Dwelly, who is also chairman of the council's economy committee.
"I would also like to find out more about the extent to which people are accessing money from informal and possibly illegal groups on estates."
Mr Dwelly says he hopes as many people as possible take the time to fill in the survey and pledges to ensure that the results are passed on to all relevant agencies such as Cornwall Council, the police, housing associations and the Citizens' Advice Bureau.
"At the moment there is no local project dealing with this particular problem in our area," he added.
"These are very tough times and I can't promise to wave a magic wand to get rid of the problem. However I hope we can uncover the hidden misery that payday loans can create."
To take part in the survey, log on to www.surveymonkey.com/s/loansharkspenzance