Debt advice has never been more important as millions of households struggle, yet funding cuts threaten access to this service and our members’ jobs. Money is there to increase funding, but government refuses to make businesses pay to fix the problem they helped to create.
Funding from the Money & Pensions Service (MaPS) for the community-based debt advice services offered by Citizens Advice, Law Centres and others has been cut by over 20% in real terms compared to before the pandemic.
Funding of national services is in disarray, and Unite members at StepChange Debt Charity in Leeds are facing an estimated 200 job losses as a result.
All this at a time when demand for debt advice is at a record high, and getting worse.
MaPS funding comes from an annual levy on consumer credit and mortgage lenders. We are calling for this levy to be increased, and extended so that all organisations which create or profit from household debt pay towards debt advice.
For example water, energy, telecoms and bailiff firms currently contribute nothing to the levy. Many companies in these sectors are making higher profits now than before the pandemic, so can easily pay towards fixing the debt mess they have contributed to.
‘Save debt advice’ day of action – 13th March
Unite for a Workers’ Economy is organising a ‘Save Debt Advice’ day of action in London with demonstrations at three key government departments on Monday 13th March – full details here
We are calling on the government and MaPS to increase debt advice funding by extending the levy, to cope with the huge spike in demand following the pandemic and cost of living crisis.
Here’s how you can join our day of action
1. Sign our petition, and ask your friends and colleagues to sign it too
2. Come along to our day of action in London – let us know if you’re coming here. If you can’t come in person, join in our online supporting action – more details of this soon
3. If your Unite branch has online meetings, ask us along to talk about the day of action and the issues involved. Depending on location, we may be able to attend in-person meetings too