12:18pm Tuesday 17th April 2012
By Staff reporter
Wiltshire could soon be part of a national project to investigate local illegal money lending making the process safer for its residents and communities.
Illegal money lending covers a range of activities, from people who are licensed but are acting unlawfully, to the extreme of loan sharks- a person offering cash loans without being licensed at all.
An Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) has been established within Birmingham trading standards as a pilot project in England. The team will investigate illegal money lending activity, establish if a problem exists, then bring any people carrying out the activity to justice.
Wiltshire councillors are being asked to agree for Birmingham trading standards to investigate and enforce any of these organisations and people within Wiltshire. If agreed, it will enable Wiltshire’s trading standards to have access to a team of highly trained experts from the IMLT.
Illegal money lenders invariably target low-income households and the most vulnerable members of society who find it difficult to access appropriate support and help. Tackling the root causes and providing legitimate alternative sources of credit will contribute to reducing stress and pressures on these individuals and their communities.
In Wiltshire the financial inclusion partnership Wiltshire Money has been working to tackle some of the root causes of debt and financial exclusion. One of the ways it has been helping is by delivering awareness raising courses in children’s centres, in addition, last November Wiltshire Community Bank was launched which provides credit union services, including affordable loans, to its members.
Wiltshire Money partners, including Wiltshire Council, are supporting the community bank and encourage local people to become members. For more information call them on 01249 248323.
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