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Borrowing: Advisory Services

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much was spent on establishing the Stop Loan Sharks (a) telephone line, (b) website and (c) text service; and what estimate he has made of the number of people who have used each service since establishment. (265591)

The amount spent on establishing the Stop Loan Sharks is as follows:

(a) Telephone line—The telephone number cost £200 to install and £10 per month line rental to keep the number live. The easily recognisable number itself was free. The geographical set up was free.

(b) Website—Development of the website design cost approximately £6,000. The stop loan sharks email is free. There were no direct costs to BERR from Directgov to produce the website.

(c) Text service—The text service is £260 per year. The cost is approximately £100 per year for texts the teams send using this service. We get about five per week on average of which one or two are excellent leads.

In the first 24 hours of the launch on 3 March 2009, 125 calls from around the country and two texts were received. It is estimated that hundreds of people have called the hotline since its launch in the main for debt advice. The Stop Loan Sharks Directgov site has received 1,510 visitors since the launch.