Monday, December 6, 2021

Don’t take the bait from Loan Sharks this Christmas

 

  • Council can help with money and debt advice
  • Website tools can help budget for this expensive time of year
  • Residents urged to avoid illegal loan sharks

With Christmas just around the corner, it's tempting to overspend to make this year's celebrations extra special.

But spending more than we have or borrowing money from illegal lenders such as loan sharks can lead to serious problems in the New Year and beyond.

Our website's Get Money Fit  pages can help you budget for Christmas as well as your day-to-day bills. The help and advice offered includes a user-friendly budget planner.

Councillor Jenny Wilkie, portfolio holder for Housing and Landlord Services, said: "The extra expenses of Christmas can make staying in control of our money really difficult, but help is available if you’re worried about getting into debt or tempted to borrow money from loan sharks who often target families with low incomes."

"Turning to an illegal loan shark might seem like an easy way to get extra money for Christmas expenses or even essentials like paying your rent, but going down this path can have devastating consequences for your future. 

"Some loan sharks will threaten you by saying you will be prosecuted and even sent to prison if you don’t pay them. This is not true, as an unlicensed lender, a loan shark has no legal right to recover the debt. Any lender - licensed or unlicensed - who harasses you is breaking the law."

To get help and report a loan shark problem:

  • Download the Loan Shark app on your mobile phone by searching "Loan Shark"
  • Call the national government hotline: 0300 555 2222
  • Email: reportloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk
  • Text LOAN SHARK and the lender's details to 60003

If you are one of our Council home tenants and you're having difficulty budgeting and managing Christmas bills, you can also get in touch with the Council's Money Advice team on 01695 585252 or visit our money advice web pages. The team can also help if you have made a claim for Universal Credit and need help to make sure your claim includes housing costs for your rent.

The Money Advice Team can also guide you to Loan Shark alternatives such as Knowsley Mutual Credit Union www.knowsleymutualcu.co.uk/ which operates in West Lancashire.

Our tenants can also get an extra Christmas bonus by making sure they are up to date with their rent. Tenants whose rent accounts are not in arrears can benefit from two weeks where they don't have to make a rent payment from 20 December which can also be a great help at this time of year. Please remember your rent should be paid in advance.

It's quick and easy for tenants to set up a direct debit to pay their rent. They can pay any frequency, on any date. Paying this way helps to keep up to date with rent and managing budgets over the Christmas period. See our website for details