Loan sharks are leading to distress, worry and the loss of more money says Communities & Tackling Poverty Minister Jeff Cuthbert. His comments come as part of the launch of the 'Don't Get Bitten' campaign.
The project aims to open up the debate around illegal money lenders and find solutions to the growing trend of people in Wales seeking financial help from loan sharks.
"Many people are facing tough times, especially after Christmas and as the full impact of the changes to welfare kick-in. However, no matter how difficult things become, our message is that no one should even consider the temptation of using loan sharks.
"Turning to these people only leads to distress, worry and ultimately the loss of more money. There is legitimate, reliable advice and affordable loans available for those who find themselves with money problems."
– Jeff Cuthbert, Communities & Tackling Poverty Minister
A campaign launched between Community Housing Cymru (CHC) and the Wales Illegal Moneylending Unit (WIMLU) aims to find solutions to the problem of illegal money lenders.
"Many loan sharks have operated with impunity and used fear and intimidation to carry on their business. Our figures reveal that 75 per cent of people who use loan sharks are on benefits and 65 per cent of victims are women. We also find 40 per cent of victims have some form of mental or physical disability with a shocking 46 per cent considering the loan shark a friend."
– Stephen Grey, WIMLU
The campaign is being supported by The Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan, Assembly Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty Jeff Cuthbert AM and Sian Williams of Toynbee Hall.
The 'Don't Get Bitten' campaign launches today. It aims to combat the problem of illegal money lenders.
Across Wales there has been an increase in the number of people turning to illegal money lenders to help make ends meet.
Figures from the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit (WIMLU) suggest a dramatic increase in the number of people in Wales turning to loan sharks. One case being investigated by WIMLU involves over 400 victims across South Wales.
Thousands of young people in Wales will be getting lesssons on how to look after their money. 'My Money Week' comes as leading finance experts warn that youngsters need better training if they are to look after their cash properly as they grow up.