Debts: Advisory Services

Treasury written question – answered on 8th November 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green

To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that public advice services for (1) individuals, and (2) households, struggling with debt are able to meet demand.

Photo of Baroness Penn Baroness Penn The Parliamentary Secretary, HM Treasury

The Government recognises the vital role that advice services play in helping people in problem debt and vulnerable circumstances.

To help people in problem debt, the Government continues to maintain record levels of funding for free-to-client debt advice in England, bringing the 2022-23 debt advice budget for the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) to over £90 million.

MaPS is the single largest funder of debt advice in England. It works alongside partners across the UK to make debt advice easier and quicker to access, and to improve standards and quality across the sector.

MaPS recently concluded a debt advice commissioning exercise with the primary aim of increasing the volume of debt advice available, as well as ensuring that such advice meets clients’ needs and proactively targets vulnerable and underrepresented groups. These contracts, once signed, will be starting from 1 February 2023.

To help people access debt advice, MaPS launched MoneyHelper in 2021, a consumer-facing service which provides free and impartial guidance for people across the UK. This includes budget planning and bill prioritiser tools, practical tips for engaging with creditors and a Debt Advice Locator Tool, which helps people find free, high-quality debt advice in their local area or via the telephone and online.

MaPS has also developed the Money Advisor Network pilot which enables a range of organisations including Job Centre Plus, local authorities and financial service providers to refer people for free to MaPS funded debt advice. The individuals referred can either proceed immediately to debt advice, request a call-back at a more convenient time or schedule an in-person appointment.

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