Sunday, June 25, 2006

Action needed on loan sharks in Neath Port Talbot

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black, has called on Neath Port Talbot Council to set up a team to supplement their existing work in tackling debt by dealing with loan sharks in the area.

Mr. Black is asking the Council to follow the example of Birmingham City Council where a group of officers’ work with other bodies such as the Police, voluntary agencies and debt advice agencies to provide support to those who need it. Victims of a Loan Shark can get advice and support. The Loan Sharks team will also investigate and prosecute Loan Sharks.

“In calling for this team I am not decrying any of the very valuable work that Neath Port Talbot Council already do in this area,” said Mr. Black. “I know that as a Council they are already very supportive of the County Borough’s three credit unions and do a lot of work with people who face debt issues. However, there is always more that can be done and Councils can learn from good practice elsewhere.”

“I am particularly concerned that in many deprived and poor communities loan sharks are able to prey on vulnerable people and lend them money at exorbitant rates. That sort of exploitation solves nothing. Instead it sends people further into a spiral of debt and despair. All of the statutory agencies, including the Council, should be participating in an on-going publicity campaign about the dangers of loan sharks and telling people about the alternatives.”

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