Loan shark cash to help Leeds savers

A new scheme hopes to encourage safe saving in Leeds. Pic: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
A new scheme hopes to encourage safe saving in Leeds. Pic: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
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A new savings scheme is set to offer council housing tenants in Leeds a cash boost in time for Christmas using money seized from loan sharks.

In a bid prevent the use of illegal money lenders, the first 100 Housing Leeds tenants to join Leeds Credit Union and save regularly between now and November will receive a £25 boost using convicted loan sharks’ ill-gotten gains.

The scheme - launched by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) together with Leeds Credit Union and Leeds City Council - hopes to help Leeds residents become more financially secure when Christmas come around and serve as a warning of the dangers of loan sharks.

Coun Debra Coupar, executive member for communities, said: “This incentive is not only a great use of ill-gotten gains but will also encourage more of our tenants to start saving with the credit union, help lift them out of poverty and raise awareness that the credit union is a genuine alternative to high costs lenders and loan sharks.”

Chris Smyth, CEO of Leeds Credit Union said they were “delighted” to take part in the scheme to support savings. He added: “Our low cost loans are available as an ethical alternative to illegal money lenders.”

Tony Quigley, IMLT’s head of service, said: “Illegal money lenders can have a horrific impact on our communities, and should never be used under any circumstances. We would always urge residents to look at borrowing from safe and legal alternatives, such as their local credit union. Loan sharks may appear friendly at first and act as though they’re offering a community service, but don’t be fooled by this behaviour as it soon changes once monies are owed.”

Any victims of loan sharks, can contact IMLT’s team on 0300 555 2222.