News item

“Bite the hand that feeds” - Loan sharks cash funds Salford music project

“Bite The Hand That Feeds” by Salford singer/songwriter Dominic Williams is a song about Loan Sharks and the issues, desperateness and sometimes violence that victims of loan sharks experience. The song was the winning entry in a song writing competition organised by the Salford Music Foundation as part of a larger campaign to promote awareness of the issues of loan sharks and to promote the legitimate alternatives.

The winning song has been turned into a music video that illustrates some of the desperation of victims, using a number of Salford actors, and also illustrates that victims are from all areas of life.  The video shot in colour and with scenes in black and white act out graphically the reality of loan sharks victims and the fear that illegal methods of collecting on loans and the astronomical interest rates charged by the operators.

The project was funded with cash confiscated from convicted illegal money lenders, as part of the Your Choice scheme. In October 2013, The England Illegal Money Lending Team who specialise in investigating and prosecuting loan sharks worked in partnership with Salford City Council, City West Housing Trust and Greater Manchester Police to give residents a say in how loan sharks cash should be spent. Salford Music Foundation’s song writing competition was one of five projects to successfully receive funding.  

The video will be launched at the New Inn, Manchester Rd, Little Hulton on 15th February. As well as the video being shown there will be live music from Dominic Williams, some of the runner up contestants and other bands from Salford.

As is often the case the judges had a hard time to choosing just one winner so in fact an E.P collecting together some of the winning songs will be released on iTunes, by Salford based record label Affinity Records. Release date is scheduled for 10th March.

Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said “The Your Choice initiative was hugely positive with the extorted cash being put to excellent use, funding innovative projects like this. Loan sharks are a scourge on society and cause harm and misery to their victims, but we are continuing to tackle them in Salford and across the country. We would always urge victims of illegal money lenders to seek help by contacting us in confidence on 0300 555 2222”

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222 

Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003 

E-mailreportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

ENDS

For more information contact Sarah-Jane Lynch, Illegal Money Lending Team communications officer, on 0121 693 1030 or 07881617119 or email sarah-jayne.lynch@birmingham.gov.uk. To speak to the National Trading Standards Board with a more general enquiry please contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 6089430 or pressoffice@tsi.org.uk.

For more information about the Salford Music Foundation contact Paul Ashton on 0161 408 2001 or paul@salfordmusicfoundation.com

Notes to editors

The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards. 

NTSB provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.

The Stop Loan Sharks Project consists of three Illegal money lending teams in England, Scotland and Wales.  The NTSB has responsibility for the England and Wales Illegal Money Lending Teams that are hosted by Birmingham City Council and Cardiff Council. There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland. 

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 300 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to more than 190 years-worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £42 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 23,000 people.

The Illegal Money Lending Teams in England and Wales work in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities in their related countries. They consist of specialist officers who investigate and prosecute illegal money lending and related activity and LIAISE officers who support victims and raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders. 

DATE: 10 February 2014