The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Berr) has announced today the biggest nationwide crackdown on illegal lending ever implemented.
John Hutton, secretary for Berr, outlined how new specialist teams would receive funding of almost £3 million to tackle loan sharks.
Mr Hutton’s announcement follows research released today showing that since 2006 such projects have helped 45,000 people with debt problems, many of them victims of loan sharks who struggle to become debt free.
The former work and pensions secretary stressed the government’s commitment to shutting down loan sharks.
“Our targeted teams will make sure anyone who feels trapped or scared has the confidence to report these crooks and put a stop to their illegal behaviour.”
The announced crackdown will build on the work of pilot anti-loan shark teams setup in Birmingham and Glasgow, which as well as offering debt advice, have identified more than 200 illegal lenders and shut down £3 million of loan shark business since their inception in 2004.
A loan shark is defined as a moneylender who is not licensed by the by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and is thus not subject to OFT regulation.