Tory cuts 'put protectors of loan shark victims in peril'.
Byline: EXCLUSIVE BY STEPHEN HAYWARD Consumer Correspondent
A BLITZ on illegal loan sharks is under threat due to more Tory spending cuts.
The pioneering England Illegal Money Lending Team faces losing a third of its PS3.6million-a-year budget.
Around 17 jobs could go from its 54 Birmingham-based staff, who have secured more than 330 prosecutions since its 2004 launch. It has helped at least 24,000 loan shark victims and had PS63million in illegal debts written off. An estimated PS700 million a year goes through illegal loan sharks and StepChange debt charity said: "The team protects very vulnerable people and no other organisation can fill the gap if the cuts go ahead. Less enforcement means fewer loan sharks would be stopped from exploiting those in financial hardship."
The team is financed by a Business Department budget to trading standards chiefs. Business Secretary Sajid Javid's department did not comment.
CUTBACKS Business chief Javid