Coronavirus debt advice support in England
It is critical people have access to debt advice when they need it and the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing sets out a goal of 2 million more people receiving debt advice by 2030.
The Coronavirus pandemic will have an impact on people’s financial wellbeing, and we expect the demand for debt advice services to increase. To help combat this, in June MaPS secured an extra £38 million to help providers deliver advice to more people in England who may be experiencing financial problems due to coronavirus. Work to allocate this funding is under way and details will be shared on this page.
Increasing debt advice capacity in England
An initial £16 million in 2020/21 – aimed at increasing the capacity of high-quality, free-to-customer debt advice by recruiting and training additional debt advisers. Our focus is to ensure that customers have access to free of charge debt advice in a way that fits their needs. We’re also aware a huge number of people will be experiencing financial difficulties for the first time too and some solely as a result of the pandemic.
To meet the increased demand, we are funding a range of providers who will offer a variety of debt advice channels through which people can engage. We know many customers are engaging with digital services more, some for the first time.
We have finalised our grant award process and are mobilising plans to enable recruitment, training and the ongoing costs of an additional c.550 new trainee debt advisers delivering advice across various channels in England to be met. Some of the new trainee advisers will be recruited within the advice agencies we already fund, while others will be in the broader advice sector through grants awarded via an open market process.
See our full list of our debt advice funded suppliers.
Maintaining debt advice capacity in England
We undertook a market engagement exercise to gather insight on how Covid-19 has impacted the income streams of debt advice providers. We reviewed the insight from this and found that some funding streams were particularly hit by the changing environment and many advisers have had to transition to remote working from their usual place of work.
In the agencies we fund, we’ve provided some advisers with the technology to ensure they can still work effectively from home and in other funded agencies access to the Money Adviser Network (as part of PACE) will provide the ability to securely receive customer referrals in any location and in a remote working setting.
Customers looking for debt advice or organisations looking to refer people into debt advice can use our impartial Debt Advice Locator Tool.
Improving digital capability of money guidance and debt advice
We have allocated some of our funding in 2020/21 into improving our digital money guidance and debt advice offering and building our capability to allow more people to access the support they need digitally.
Our focus is on creating an approach to holistic guidance that helps customers understand their financial picture and access the services that are best suited to meet their needs.
We are currently recruiting specialists in digital services who will support MaPS and the sector in the improvement of digital capabilities.