Local Government Questions: Tuesday 10th January 2012

Mark Drakeford: A wnaiff y Gweinidog ddatganiad am waith Uned Benthyca Arian Anghyfreithlon Cymru
[Will the Minister make a statement on the work of the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit].

Carl Sargeant: The Welsh Government is fully supportive of the vital work that the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit is undertaking to combat illegal money lending. We will continue to work with the unit to tackle loan sharks, improve referral systems and encourage closer working with credit unions to promote affordable credit.

Mark Drakeford: I welcome the statement that you issued yesterday on the range of support available in Wales for people struggling with their finances. The illegal money lending unit operates at one end of that spectrum, but in the post-Christmas period, with bills rolling in, will you encourage the unit to report to you specifically on its experience of dealing with illegal money lending over the next few months, so that the lessons of its excellent work can be learned for the future?

Carl Sargeant: It is a difficult financial climate, and more people are turning to loan sharks when money is tight. We have to create an environment where people feel safe and have the ability to use credit unions effectively. I have visited the illegal money lending unit, where I had first-hand discussions with people who had accessed the service of loan sharks. That was a real eye-opener. I will ask the unit to brief me on further interventions that it has made during the past 12 months.