Media comment: Money Advice Service response to Centre for Social Justice Report

Thursday 4 June 2015

In response to the Centre for Social Justice report, Caroline Siarkiewicz, Head of the UK Debt Advice Programme for Money Advice Service, comments:

“We know that free debt advice really works in helping people to get to grips with their debt. Almost 90% of people take action after receiving advice and 75% begin to reduce their debts.1 We are pleased that the Centre for Social Justice report recognises the importance of co-ordinating the debt advice sector to encourage greater collaboration with other funders and providers of debt services to ensure that consumers get the help they need, when they need it the most.”

“We strongly support the integration of financial capability and debt advice as the two are mutually reinforcing. Debt advisors improve the financial capability of their clients and we believe that strengthening an individual’s financial capability can lessen the risk they will become over-indebted. The Centre for Social Justice are correct to point out that too often these issues are thought of separately. We have taken steps in recent years to ensure that financial capability is hard-wired into the debt advice process and through our leadership of the UK Financial Capability Strategy, we will be creating a framework for action to enable integration at all levels.

“Some recommendations within the report provide some food for thought, however they may require further investigation to assess viability. For example, while working on the quality framework for debt advice, we identified that whilst kite marks and accreditations are useful for providers, consumers are less likely to see the value of them. We will continue to work closely with a broad range of partners including financial services, the voluntary sector and policy groups like the Centre for Social Justice as we develop the Financial Capability Strategy over the coming months.”

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For more information or to arrange an interview with a Money Advice Service spokesperson, please contact Pressoffice@moneyadviceservice.org.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1: Survey results from 2013 from a sample of debt advice projects funded by the Money Advice Service

About the Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation. It gives free, unbiased money advice online at moneyadviceservice.org.uk, over the phone on 0300 500 5000, and face-to-face right across the UK. The Service was set up by Government and is paid for by a statutory levy on the financial services industry, raised through the Financial Conduct Authority. Its statutory objectives are to enhance the understanding and knowledge of members of the public about financial matters (including the UK financial system); and to enhance the ability of members of the public to manage their own financial affairs.