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‘I am borrowing to live’: pawnbrokers enjoy golden era as UK hits hard times

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A sturdy chain and slender cross, both made of gold, are placed on the desk in a small plastic bag. Its owner is pondering whether to pawn or sell her grandmother’s necklace and mother’s pendant to raise £400 in cash to pay off debts and fund her daughter’s birthday celebrations.

She’s never used a pawnbroker before, but her finances are under increasing pressure.“Every month I have got nothing to live on,” says the client, who declined to be identified, as she fights back tears. “I’ve been sitting around the house planning things I can sell.

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