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KIDSGROVE RESIDENTS WARNED ABOUT THE DANGERS OF LOAN SHARKS

The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are working with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council to educate residents on safe borrowing and the dangers of using loan sharks.

Together with Staffordshire North & Stoke-on-Trent Citizens Advice, officers from the IMLT will be present on Miners’ Estate in Kidsgrove this week to deliver illegal money lending training to local tenants and debt advocates.

On Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 November, a representative from the IMLT will be speaking to local organisations and residents about the impact of loan sharks and how to spot the signs of illegal money lending.

Residents will be offered free benefit checks at the sessions to ensure they are receiving the money they are entitled to.

The training events form part of a wider financial inclusion project that Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council are delivering over the course of the coming months. The IMLT are commissioning the project using £1,500 of proceeds of crime money; cash that’s been confiscated from convicted loan sharks through the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002).

The aim of the project is to find financial inclusion champions in the community who will help spread the message about loan sharks and support struggling residents to access debt advice and safe credit.

The Illegal Money Lending training sessions will take place at the following locations:

Tuesday 7 November

Galley Centre, Whitehall Avenue, Kidsgrove

10am – 11.30am – Illegal money lending training for residents and agencies

11.45am – 1.45pm – Financial capability training for residents and agencies

Wednesday 8 November

Tesco Superstore, Liverpool Road, Kidsgrove, ST7 1DX

3pm – 5pm – Loan shark information stand and speaking to Tesco shoppers

5pm – 6.30pm – Illegal money lending training session for residents and agencies

Councillor Kyle Robinson, Butt Lane Councillor and Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing, said:

“I am so pleased that Newcastle Borough Council has been able to secure external funding for these awareness raising and training sessions in the Kidsgrove community. Loan sharks and illegal money lending practices exist in most communities and so the local council is working hard to make sure we do all we can to stamp it out.  I welcome positive partnership working with the Illegal Money Lending Team England and other local organisations to ensure our local residents are protected from criminals preying on vulnerable people.

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

“Loan sharks are unscrupulous criminals who prey on the most vulnerable in our society. We are pleased to be working with our partners to raise awareness of illegal money lending and the help and support that’s available to victims of this crime.

“If you or someone you know has borrowed from a loan shark, we urge you to get in touch on 0300 555 2222. We will take information anonymously and in confidence. For more information on how our team can help you, visit www.stoploansharks.uk.”

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 328 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £72.5 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 27,000 people.

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222

Text a report to 078600 22116

Visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk  

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

Labour Group wins Citizens Advice Service Reprieve

cablogo-11The Staffordshire Labour Group’s call in of the Conservative Cabinet decision to cut funding to Staffordshire CABs by £439,000 has resulted in a rethink. Cabinet member Councillor Alan White agreed at yesterday’s Corporate Review Committee to reconsider his decision.

The proposed cuts in funding would have resulted in many smaller bureaux closing and a much reduced service in other bureaux which provide free, confidential and quality marked advice on a wide range of issues including debt, benefits and consumer information.

Leading the call in on behalf of the Labour Group, Councillor Shree Peaple said:

“The CABs provide real value for money. In the first six months of the year, for an investment of less than 59 pence per resident per year the financial return was £14.7 million, on average £17 per resident. That is in addition to helping residents deal with over £11 million worth of debt. That benefits not only local families but also local shops and businesses.  I am delighted that we have won a reprieve for Staffordshire CABs but they are not out of the woods yet as there are still hard decisions to be made”

Kyle Robinson , Labour County Council Candidate for Talke and Red Street said:

“The CAB offers expert advice to help people tackle their debt problems.  Many residents, young and old in Butt Lane, Talke Pits and Chesterton Red Street access CAB services in a time of need.  People are really struggling to make ends meet and to take away this vital service would be another blow for the local community.  People assume that only people on benefits use CAB services, but this is simply not true.  A large proportion of people who use the service are in work.  I am also aware that many disabled people turn to the CAB for support, especially when seeking work.  The County Council must think again and ensure that the most vulnerable people in our community get the support they need and deserve.  You never know when you might need to access this service yourself.”

Councillor Sue Woodward, Leader of the Labour Group said,

“With the petition in favour of saving our CABs already running at over 11,500, this reflects the real value Staffordshire residents put on these services. We must now find a fairer and more positive solution. I am pleased that our call in was so successful.”

Please sign the petition if you haven’t already: https://www.change.org/p/staffordshire-county-council-help-protect-local-citizens-advice-services-across-staffordshire