Rogue Moneylenders

– in the Scottish Parliament on 21st December 2017.

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Photo of Pauline McNeill Pauline McNeill Labour

6. To ask the First Minister what action the Scottish Government is taking to protect vulnerable people from rogue moneylenders over the festive period. (S5F-01875)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Illegal moneylending will not be tolerated in Scotland at this time of year or at any other time of year. We fully support the Scottish illegal money lending unit, which is hosted by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities in its drive to investigate and prosecute those who prey on vulnerable people in this way.

We are also working hard to raise the profile of credit unions, which provide ethical and affordable financial services for those who need them. In addition, we provided around £21 million of funding for advice projects last year, helping people to seek solutions in a range of areas, including money and debt.

If any member of the public has any information on illegal moneylenders, they can report it in confidence via the Trading Standards Scotland website.

Photo of Pauline McNeill Pauline McNeill Labour

Despite the excellent work done by Trading Standards Scotland and Police Scotland, rogue lenders are still slipping through the net and they continue to wreak havoc in some of Scotland’s most deprived communities. Evidence collated by those organisations shows that some of the methods used include intimidation and the demanding of sexual favours.

I welcome what the First Minister has said today, and previously, about the role of credit unions. Will she consider having a higher-profile public information campaign, particularly in such communities, that might talk about their existence and importance? Does she agree that that might protect more families from such criminals?

The First Minister:

Yes, I do agree. We will carefully consider any proposals to highlight further the important role that credit unions play. They provide financial services to a range of customers and they are a very valuable option for many, including those facing financial exclusion. We are already implementing the credit union working group’s recommendations that were published last year. They include making available to credit unions £300,000 to develop junior savers’ schemes and working with the sector to design a national awareness-raising campaign that will be delivered during 2018. I hope that members right across the chamber will get behind that campaign.