THE government-funded Illegal Money Lending Team is to launch a new project with MoneyBox Credit Union to encourage people in Herefordshire to save.

The incentive will be £25 if they save a minimum of £5 a week for a minimum of eight weeks.

The first 50 new members of MoneyBox Credit Union (MBCU) who join during July will be eligible for the incentive.

A standing order is set up when the new member joins (there are other ways for people to pay-in). Once the new member has saved for eight weeks they will get the £25 incentive paid in. This will happen in October.

MoneyBox is a financial co-operative set-up to encourage people to save for a rainy day. One of its rules is that people must save a minimum of £5 per week from the time that they join.

The £25 top-up for people signing up to the scheme will be funded by the Illegal Money Lending Team with cash recovered from loan sharks.

Part of the Illegal Money Lending Team’s mission is to protect people against loan sharks, whom they prosecute and confiscate their unlawful earnings.

Martin Neicho, MoneyBox business development and outreach officer for Herefordshire, said: “Another part of the Illegal Money Lending Team’s mission is to work in partnership with credit unions.

“As a result, they have agreed to support a MoneyBox initiative to encourage people in Herefordshire to save.

“Those who sign up to the scheme and save £5 a week throughout July will have their capital increased by £25. They will also be entered into a £50 prize draw that will take place in September.

For more details telephone the credit union on 01743 252325.

“Additionally, if anyone believes they may have borrowed money from an illegal money lender call the hotline 0300 555 2222 in confidence.”