StepChange Debt Charity response to Autumn Statement
23 November, 2016
In response to the Autumn Statement, Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said:
“Today’s Autumn Statement was a missed opportunity to put in place the measures that are needed to help the ‘just about managing’ to manage with some hope of stability. Welfare changes in the pipeline leave many people dangerously close to not managing at all. Planned increases to the personal allowance and the National Living Wage may provide some respite, but the lack of action on the four year freeze on working age benefits and the two-child limit for child tax credits means there is still financial pain ahead for many families.
“As the Government acknowledges the need to examine the retail energy market to ensure that it is working for consumers, it must show the same willingness to examine other markets where consumer detriment is common, including overdrafts and credit cards.
“There are 2.6m people struggling with severe problem debt in the UK, and in order to help the ‘just about managing’ we need measures to improve financial resilience in the form of low-income savings policies building on the “Help to Save” plan, better protections for people in debt in the form of a statutory ‘breathing space’ scheme, and more affordable and sustainable credit options for low-income households.”