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Government to bite hard on loan sharks

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26/01/2007

The Government is to step up its campaign against the loan sharks who blight many of the UK’s poorer communities by granting extra funding to teams that specialise in taking on the criminals.

Far from being areas of saving and investment, many deprived neighbourhoods are effectively denied legitimate access to credit and resort to Mafia-style outfits able to furnish them with cash.

Government minister Ed Balls said: “Loan sharks are a blight on some of the least well-off communities, and so I am pleased to see the success we are already having in tackling these criminals and helping their victims.”

The National Consumer Council, also keen to see more positive saving and investment in affected areas, backed the move. Deputy director of policy, Claire Whyley, said: “Removing illegal lenders from these communities not only frees their victims from threats and intimidation, but can help people find ways to borrow more cheaply – through flexible loans, for example.”

A report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies pointed out that the poorest members of society are vulnerable because they are to a large degree excluded from mainstream methods of handling their personal finances. As a result, they deal with loan sharks who can charge up to 400% for their ‘services’.

 

 

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