BwD leaders urge resident to Sleigh No to Loan Sharks this Christmas

Published Saturday 10 December 2022 at 9:00

Council leaders are urging residents in Blackburn with Darwen to ‘Sleigh No to Loan Sharks’ this Christmas.

Figures released as part of a national campaign show that while people are struggling to pay their monthly bills, illegal money lenders will continue to prey on families who are struggling to afford Christmas.

The campaign aims to highlight the fact that loan sharks target those in financial hardship and who are especially vulnerable, wanting to meet the demands of the festive period.

According to the England Illegal Money Lending Team, nearly one in ten people turned to loan sharks to cover the costs of Christmas last year and more than half of victims turned to illegal money lenders in order to pay for essentials such as utilities, food and fuel in the first half of 2022.

Council leaders are reminding Blackburn with Darwen residents that alternative support such as The Household Support Scheme is available to those who need help, encouraging them to work with the help available rather than let debts spiral out of control.

Councillor Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Wellbeing, said:

Loan shark lenders prey on the most vulnerable of people and at this time of year they will target those who need support to meet the demands of daily living costs as well as the added cost of Christmas.

The Council, along with local organisations and partners are doing all we can to help, including encouraging the uptake of the Household Support Scheme, signposting people across the borough to get assistance from those who can help.

Loan sharks pose a dangerous threat to all communities. They charge exorbitant interest rates and target the most vulnerable with aggressive and exploitative practices. The impact of illegal money lending is severe and far-reaching, with devastating consequences for the mental health and wellbeing of those affected.

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said:

Loan sharks are doing untold damage in local communities, and we must do all we can to stop them. With their ruthless tactics, these predators are threatening vulnerable families, driving them deeper into debt, and pulling entire communities into an endless cycle of despair.

At a time when families are under extreme cost pressures with mounting living costs, we are deeply concerned that those who are already struggling to make ends meet could be targeted by these predatory lenders.

Our campaign aims to break this cycle by helping people understand the risks of loan sharks, what they can do if they feel threatened and where they can turn for help and support.

The Council and local organisations and partners are doing all we can to help, including the Household Support Scheme and signposting people in need to support and assistance across the borough. These include:

  • Age UK
  • BwD Healthy Living
  • Rummage Rescuers
  • Jubilee Tower Credit Union
  • Care Network
  • BwD Home Start
  • BwD Carers Service
  • Shelter

For more information visit Support for cost of living – are you eligible? | The Shuttle: Blackburn with Darwen Council News

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