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1 May, 2020 Open access

Policy changes needed to prevent ‘financial cliff-edge’ when short-term protections against impact of coronavirus come to an end, says Citizens Advice

New report calls for range of longer-term measures to ensure that people are not penalised for unavoidable debts built up during pandemic

Policy changes are needed to prevent people facing a 'financial cliff-edge' when the short-term protections that have been put in place against the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) come to an end, according to a new report from Citizens Advice.

In Near the cliff-edge: how to protect households facing debt during COVID-19, published today, Citizens Advice highlights that many people in the UK are already experiencing the financial impact of COVID-19, with an estimated four million having fallen behind on rent, council tax or a telecoms bill, and that they will have little protection from aggressive debt collection when temporary protections on enforcement come to an end.

As a result, Citizens Advice says that policy makers need to take longer-term action to stop people being penalised for unavoidable debts, and that four specific changes would help -

NB - in a new update for stakeholders, the Money and Pensions Service reports that its money guidance centre received almost double the forecasted volumes of contacts in March 2020 as a direct result of the financial impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.

For more information see Near the cliff-edge: how to protect households facing debt during COVID-19 from citizensadvice.org.uk