Media comment: Poor treatment of people in debt

Wednesday 8th June 2016

Caroline Siarkiewicz, Head of UK Debt Advice for the Money Advice Service comments on StepChange’s press release: Poor treatment of people in debt deepens financial hardship

“It is important for people who are experiencing financial difficulties to have sufficient time and support to get their finances back on track without pressure from their creditors. Ensuring that the process is consistent across all creditors will help people to look at their financial situation as a whole and seek support, rather than just react to the most persistent creditors who may not always be the most critical to pay.

“People need to be given enough time to consider the debt solution options available to them to ensure that they take the most appropriate option for their needs. This will reduce the likelihood of them having trouble maintaining the solution further down the line. This need for upfront time and support to assess the debt situation of each client highlights the need for a breathing space scheme. Given the importance of this issue, we acknowledge the value of Breathing Space within the UK Financial Capability Strategy, recognising how vital it could be to people in financial difficulties. Such a scheme already exists in Scotland as part of the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) which provides people with space to get adequate support in dealing with their finances. We will continue to work with HM Treasury, the Insolvency Service and organisations across the debt sector to ensure people in debt, across the UK, have the support they need.”