Illegal lending in the UK

Authors: Sharon Collard, Anna Ellison, Rob Forster
Funded by: Department of Trade and Industry
Published by: Department of Trade and Industry
Publication date: November 2006 / February 2007

Little is known about the dimensions and nature of illegal lending in the UK. Historically, efforts to prevent it have been piecemeal and, to the extent that few successful prosecutions have been brought, largely ineffective. As a practical first step in formulating policy solutions in a little understood area, the then Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) established a two-year pilot project to tackle illegal lending in two known concentrations of illegal lending - Birmingham, covering the West Midlands and Glasgow, covering Scotland. This has sought to gain practical experience on the ground of the extent of illegal lending and the issues associated with it.

Alongside the pilot project, the DTI commissioned PFRC and Policis to carry out research into the scope and extent of illegal money lending across the UK. The research team used a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods to establish the scale of the problem at national level; to identify the different types of illegal money lenders operating in the UK; to examine the drivers behind the use of illegal money lending; and to understand the environmental barriers to enforcement. The findings of this research were published in November 2006.

Following on from this, the DTI commissioned PFRC and Policis to evaluate the work of the two illegal lending pilot teams. The evaluation report was published in February 2007.

Illegal lending in the UK (PDF, 904kB)
Evaluation of the illegal money lending pilots (PDF, 384kB)

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