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9 June, 2020 Open access

Government announces extra £38 million funding for debt advice providers to help people affected by coronavirus

Money and Pensions Service will set out process for allocating funding 'in the coming weeks'

The government has announced an extra £38 million funding for debt advice providers in England to help people affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Acknowledging the need for services to help people who are struggling with their finances due to COVID-19, HM Treasury said today that the £37.8 million support package will be managed by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) and will be made up of £20.6 million from the government, £14.2 million raised through a one-off increase to the Financial Services Levy, and a further £3 million from the existing MaPS budget.

NB - the government also advised that, as delivery of debt advice is a devolved matter, the additional funding will be matched for the devolved administrations, resulting in an extra combined £5.9 million for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Confirming that it will set out the process for allocating funds in the coming weeks, MaPS says that it has committed to the following - 

Commenting on the new funding, Chief Executive at the Money and Pensions Service Caroline Siarkiewicz said - 

'This pandemic is first and foremost a health emergency, but for many the longest lasting impact will be a financial one. Experience and evidence tell us that the number of people needing formal debt advice in the wake of a major event like this increases slowly at first but is then likely to grow for many months. When the greatest demand for debt advice hits, potentially in 18 months’ time, we need to be ready and that means acting now.

Debt services are already over-subscribed so we’ll be working hard to help people early, before their financial situation gets too bad. We already have projects under way to help deliver debt advice differently, making better use of data and helping people find the advice that is available more efficiently. For people facing money struggles it’s important they know we are by their side to help them through – not just now, but for the many months to come'

For more information see Extra £38 million for debt support in England in the wake of Coronavirus from singlefinancialguidancebody.org.uk