Skelmersdale Against Loan Sharks

Skelmersdale Against Loan Sharks (Illegal Money Lending)

South West Lancashire Independent Community Advice Network (ICAN) is pleased to announce Big Lottery Funding to promote awareness of illegal money lending.

Illegal money lending in the Skelmersdale area has increased and working with the National Illegal Money Lending Team we hope to inform people that there are alternative forms of lending they can access. Working closely with Unify Credit Union we will be hosting a series of workshops, training events and public awareness to promote this.

South West Lancashire Independent Community Advice Network (ICAN for short) is a driver of social inclusion through the provisions of accessible resources, training and social activities for individuals and local Voluntary, Community and Faith organisations in West Lancashire.

The Big Lottery Fund is the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding across the UK. The Fund aims to enable others to make real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need.

Some key points:

  • Illegal Money Lending is frequently underpinned by violence and intimidation and is deeply damaging to individuals and communities, entrenching poverty and disadvantage.
  • The law had previously not been enforced for decades allowing loan sharks to operate with impunity.
  • An estimated 310,000 individuals – representing 3% of households in the lowest income quartile and 6% of residents of the most deprived estates (bottom 5% on the indices of multiple deprivation) – borrow £120m p.a. from loan sharks on which they repay £450m p.a.
  • Use of IML is concentrated on those on low incomes and particularly the over-indebted and those experiencing credit refusals in the legitimate market, 5% of whom have used an illegal lender in the last 12 months.
  • The total cost of credit (TCC) is £280 per £100 borrowed – three and a half times the cost of the highest cost legal credit.
  • IML is estimated to take a net £235 p.a. from low income households and some £63m p.a. from the economies of the most deprived communities.
  • Taken together, income starvation and quality of life detriment associated with IML amounts to a net £330m p.a., largely suffered by the most disadvantaged. Consequential health service costs bring the total estimated detriment associated directly with IML to £373m p.a.
  • Illegal lending is unlikely to go away, given the strength of demand. Two thirds (66%) of victims agree, most (54%) strongly, that as soon as one lender is removed, another lender takes their place.

For further information please contact ICAN on 01695 726269 or email

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