11th March 2015
In response to today’s (March 11) Financial Inclusion Commission report, Mike O’Connor, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said:
“We welcome today’s report which addresses the problems faced by those who are not able to access basic financial services like bank accounts, affordable credit and savings products. The Commission is right to focus on helping those whose vulnerability to problem debts is exacerbated by a lack of financial inclusion. There is a pressing need to provide better protections for people who fall into debt, and better incentives and mechanisms to help people save and build up financial resilience.
“People who have suffered life shocks such as redundancy, illness or separation need time to get back on their feet. We welcome the Commission’s support for our recommendation to adapt Scotland’s Debt Arrangement Scheme for the rest of the UK, with additional time for people to recover before starting to repay their debts at a reasonable rate. An extended breathing space guarantee of this kind would give people the extra time they need to regain control of their finances without the added stress and worry of additional interest, charges and enforcement action.
“Many families are unable to build up financial resilience, battling against increasingly squeezed household budgets and struggling with unsuitable savings methods. We are pleased to see the Commission supporting our suggested approach of an auto-enrollment workplace savings scheme, which would help households to save for a rainy day no matter what their financial position.”