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Oxford,
01
July
2016
|
15:00
Europe/London

Help stop loan sharks with money taken from loan sharks!

Local groups working in the Oxford area are encouraged to bid for cash, which has been confiscated from illegal money lenders, as part of an initiative organised by the England Illegal Money Lending Team in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council’s Tra

The ‘Your Choice’ scheme will give residents a say in how money taken from loan sharks is spent to improve their community. The England Illegal Money Lending Team, a specialist unit, who investigate and prosecute loan sharks, have put forward a pot of ‘proceeds of crime’ money to fund projects that benefit Oxford residents.

Loan sharks often trap borrowers into spiralling debt through exorbitant rates of interest and arbitrary extra charges. When people are unable to pay many will resort to bully tactics such as intimidation, threats or violence.

The scheme aims to see the money these loan sharks made, used wisely, to benefit key areas. Local residents, charities, community and voluntary groups, schools and statutory agencies benefiting those that live in the Oxford postcode areas of OX1 – OX4 are welcome to apply for the cash; your project must contribute to raising awareness of loan sharks and aim to do at least one of the following:

  • Promote legal, affordable credit options to prevent people from using loan sharks – for example, encouraging new credit union accounts.
  • Prevent wider crime and disorder whilst promoting the Stop Loan Sharks messages.

Applicants have until the 31st July 2016 to place their bids.

The community will then vote online and in person for how they would like the money to be spent, with the winning projects decided on August 31st.

Richard Webb, Manager for Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Team said: “We are delighted that money confiscated from illegal money lenders will be put to good community use within the area and we want to encourage people to continue to report any suspected loan shark activity.”

Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team added: “Illegal money lenders are a scourge on our communities, and can have a hugely detrimental impact on the lives of their victims. Through schemes such as this, we are able to use this money for something positive and help to prevent these criminals from operating in the future. We would always urge victims of illegal money lenders to seek help by contacting us in confidence on 0300 555 2222.”

Groups can apply for up to a maximum of £1,250 per project and can submit more than one project idea. For an application form, please contact Cath Wohlers oncatherine.wohlers@birmingham.gov.uk or 07500 809339Follow us on twitter: @loansharknews

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222Text 07860022116Email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.ukPrivate message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

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Notes to editors

You can read the full proposal: A new council for a Better Oxfordshire at: www.betteroxfordshire.org

About the survey 

502 quota controlled interviews of residents aged 16+ were conducted between 5 and 19 February 2017.  To correct for response bias, statistical weighting has been applied to the completed dataset at both a district and county level to ensure that the survey is representative of the entire population aged 16+. 

Overall, the results are statistically reliable to around +/- 5% at the 95% level of confidence. This means that 19 times out of 20 the survey findings will be within 5% points of the result that would have been achieved had everyone in the population been interviewed.

On this basis, whilst the survey identified that overall support in the county is 70%, the actual level of support could be as high as 75% or at the lower end, 65%. 

The survey results for individual districts are subject to wider confidence intervals, but even when taking these into account there remains absolute majority support (with more than 50% agreement) across all districts.

Media enquiries

For all media enquiries about the proposal, please contact:

Emily Reed, Oxfordshire County Council, on 07770 701139 emily.reed@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Patsy Cusworth, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Council on 01235 422400 patsy.cusworth@southandvale.gov.uk

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