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External affairs team

Find out who's talking about us and what they're saying

StepChange in the news

In this section you'll find highlights from recent media coverage of our campaign work as well as appearances on radio and television by our policy advocates and clients.

Our latest media coverage

Please note, we're not responsible for the content of external websites.

Friday, 8 October

On Wednesday StepChange responded to the long-touted £20 a week cut from households’ Universal Credit allowance.

We revealed our own client stats, showing that for those who rely on Universal Credit, there will be a 31% drop in those who have a positive budget after the changes, going from 59% of clients to 28%.

We also highlighted the budget disparities those already in a negative budget will face, with the average shortfall among clients tripling from -£40 to -£126 a month.

Our stats were featured in The Sun in two different articles, as well as in trade outlets such as YourMoney, CCR Magazine and Credit-Connect.

We also had a client feature in an in-depth article on the rental debt crisis this week in the i.

Clare, who’s in significant rental debt as a result of the pandemic, discussed the difficult choices she faces. She is a mother of one trying to manage on income that leaves her with only £100 after paying her rent each month. The piece also featured a quote from Richard Lane, calling on the Government to reverse course on the £20 a week universal credit cut and implement a package of targeted support for renters. We are also calling on energy providers to ensure that as the energy crisis worsens, people like Clare aren’t put into impossible positions.

On Thursday, Lawrie Morgan-Klein appeared in front of the Scottish Parliament’s Social Justice & Social Security committee, discussing the Scottish Government’s upcoming 2022-23 budget and what we’ve been seeing from a debt advice provider’s perspective.

Other coverage during the week:

  • AI can make customers love, not loathe, their bank in tough financial times - Finestra
  • MSPs visit Lanarkshire debt centre as part of Challenge Poverty Week - Daily Record

Friday, 1 October

On Wednesday, StepChange commented on the Bank of England’s latest Money & Credit data, saying it spoke to our experiences of a two-speed recovery in the pandemic. Alongside it, we also released our client data for August, showing a rise in people seeking debt advice while in fulltime employment.

We coverage for this in trade outlets such as YourMoney, Credit Connect and CCR Magazine.

Yesterday, we reacted to the Chancellor’s announcement of a £500 million discretionary fund. Richard Lane commented that while the fund will provide some relief to households experiencing financial distress, the Government need to build further on this if they want to help everyone make ends meet, highlighting that there is a £6 billion cut to Universal Credit on the horizon to contend with.

Head of Policy, Peter Tutton, continues to be widely quoted in an article across a significant number of local papers discussing the scale of the personal debt crisis in their respective areas, calling attention to the “unmanageable financial situations” many people are being pushed into. Here’s an example from the Dorset Echo.

Peter Tutton also appeared on BBC Radio 4’s flagship consumer programme You and Yours yesterday to discuss the risks to renters when the Government reduces the notice period for evictions back to pre-pandemic levels. In the show they also discussed our findings from the Covid Debt Rescue campaign, which showed that more than 200,000 private renters had built up rent arrears.

And last week’s new report The True Cost of Tax Credit Overpayments continues to be featured in a range of articles looking at issues with the welfare system, with the Daily Mirror covering our findings in an article discussing updates to Universal Credit

Other coverage included:

  • What are my rights if I’m made redundant, including holiday, pension, and pay? - The Sun
  • The different financial personality types and how to manage money depending on yours - Cosmopolitan

Friday, 24 September

Our statistics featured in a hard hitting piece from The Independent’s Women’s Correspondent, Maya Oppenheim, discussing the disproportionate effect the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit will have on women.

The new Shadow Minister for Women & Equalities, Taiwo Owatemi, referenced our data in Parliament, and also highlighted how our female clients’ budgets will be affected by the upcoming cut.

We also continue to feature in a number of high profile articles around the topic of Buy Now, Pay Later, with appearances this week in The Guardian (as well as the print edition of the Observer) and the print edition of The Times.

This week, we announced the release of our newest report, The True Cost of Tax Credit Overpayments, revealing that deductions from Universal Credit payments used by the DWP to collect tax credit overpayments are leaving households unable to pay for rent, food and groceries. We called on the Government to make a number of changes, including implementing an affordability assessments before determining the rate of repayment, writing off tax credit debts over 6 years old, and lowering the minimum deduction to £1 for those who cannot afford to pay more.

Our report was covered by a number of outlets, including:

The ongoing financial impact of covid and the rising cost of living on people who need our help was also covered by The Guardian, The Big Issue, Motley Fool, BBC Radio Leeds and Humberside, The Sun and the Scottish Sun.

Friday, 17 September

Yesterday we revealed the latest findings in our Covid Debt Rescue campaign, showing that the £360 million Covid rent debt crisis will escalate unless the Universal Credit cut is reversed and a package of targeted support is put in place for renters in arrears.

This was covered widely:

The BBC used our data and clients' story for their report 'I'm constantly worried about being evicted' and mentioned our findings in their Covid-19 round-up.

'Estimated £360m Covid rent debt crisis will escalate, warns charity' - published by Yahoo! Finance, AOL, The Independent and the Belfast Telegraph, amongst others

Our report was also included in numerous local BBC Radio Station bulletins and has been discussed on LBC’s hourly news updates.

Other coverage during the week:

  • Debt fears as Monzo launches £3,000 buy now, pay later loans (Telegraph £)
  • Buy now, pray later? How deferred payments could harm the customer experience (Raconteur £)
  • Five major Covid support schemes ending in TWO weeks – how to prepare (The Sun and Scottish Sun)

Friday, 10 September

Baroness Tyler of Enfield mentioned our warnings on the effect of cutting £20 a week from Universal Credit during a House of Lords debate on the end of the uplift. You can read about this in Hansard.

  • Online Collections Technology Think Tank 2.1 confirms line up (Credit Connect)

Friday, 3 September

On Tuesday this week we launched our Scotland Debt Guide, a booklet designed to help facilitate better access to debt advice for hard to reach communities. Lawrie Morgan-Klein appeared on BBC Radio Scotland and other local BBC stations on Tuesday to discuss the difference we hope the guide will make (starts around 50 mins in), alongside coverage in the print edition of the Daily Record, and in trade outlets such as CCR Magazine and Credit Connect.

Also on Tuesday, we released our response to the latest Bank of England Money and Credit statistics, which provide information on lending and repayment trends, as well as releasing our own client stats for July.

This was covered in several the Mirror and Independent and via the Press Association. There was also trade coverage from outlets such as Mortgage Introducer and Credit Strategy.

And on Thursday we were one of 100 organisations who signed a letter calling on the Prime Minister to reconsider his decision to push forward with a £20 weekly cut to Universal Credit.

The letter was covered widely with the BBC, the Guardian, and Sky News all reporting on it.

We were also featured in the following publications:

  • Buy now, pay later shoppers chased by debt collectors – your rights if it happens to you (The Sun)
  • Sigma celebrates Pure Planet contract win following vulnerable customer pilot (West Midlands Growth)

Friday, 27 August

On Monday, one of our case studies appeared on Naga Munchetty’s Radio 5 Live show (about 6 mins in) under a pseudonym – 'Jane' – to discuss her experiences dealing with economic abuse from her former partner, and how she’s starting to recover financially.

Also appearing on the programme was Dr. Nicola Sharp Jeffs, CEO of the charity Surviving Economic Abuse, who, as well as sharing her expertise on the topic, spoke highly of the partnership between StepChange and Surviving Economic Abuse that helps us support survivors of economic abuse.

We were also featured in the following publications:

  • Revolut's new 'Payday' feature lets users advance up to half their salary at ANY time: Is it an end-of-the-month lifesaver or a debt trap? (This is Money)
  • People in the North-east with money worries urged to access free advice and support (Buchan Observer and Fraserburgh Herald)
  • Boris Johnson says Universal Credit claimants should use 'their efforts' to claim less benefits (The Mirror, Liverpool Echo and MSN)
  • Warning issued over impact of benefit cuts on renters (Property Investors News)
  • The link between mental health and financial wellbeing (Startups Magazine)

Friday, 20 August

On Tuesday StepChange, alongside organisations including the National Residential Landlords Association, Crisis and Shelter, published a letter urging the Government to complete and publish a full assessment of the impact the impending freeze to Local Housing Allowance and cut to Universal Credit will have on renters. The letter argued these changes risk pushing many households into poverty, problem debt, and homelessness.

This was covered widely, including in The Independent and i News.

Wednesday saw Richard Lane, Director of External Affairs, and one of our clients, Matt, appear in a phone-in special on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours. The programme examined the issue of borrowing from friends and family (BBC Radio 4). We were also mentioned in these news stories:

  • UK renters could be pushed into poverty by government benefit cuts (Landlord News)
  • Universal Credit: The people with incurable illnesses facing financial hardship when the benefit uplift ends (i News)

Friday, 13 August

We were featured in a piece in The Guardian discussing the relationship between debt and mental health. Sarah, one of our clients, discussed the difficulties of dealing with her financial issues while also living with poor mental health. She explained how we supported her and our Head of Media Sue Anderson discussed how the withdrawal of support could potentially lead for further difficulties for people with additional vulnerabilities.

On Monday we were featured in a piece in the Independent, discussing the difficulties people could face due to the winding down of Covid support measures this Autumn. Sue Anderson was quoted again, discussing how there are “clear winners and losers” in the pandemic, with those particularly vulnerable to the current disruption, such as renters, being left behind as many in the country move forward.

On Wednesday we were quoted once again in The Sun, this time on the topic of Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP). We suggested that DHP could be a useful tool for those who are struggling to make ends meet, and called for greater awareness to be made of the payment to help people struggling right now who might not be accessing support they’re entitled to.

Friday, 6 August

This week our case study clients have been out in full force in the media, talking about their experiences of being in debt and how we assisted them.

Robert, one of the case studies, had their story featured in the Metro over last weekend, and also discussed how straightforward they had found the process of getting our help. Comments about our service for vulnerable customers requiring support with mental health conditions were also featured.

Another case study, Carol, took part in a discussion with BBC Radio Scotland and several other local Scottish stations. Carol discussed how she fell into problem debt, her experiences with dealing with her creditors and the positive impact of getting help through StepChange (clip starts around 2 hrs 11 mins).

Richard Lane, our Director of External Affairs, appeared on BBC Radio Leeds discussing the effect the rise in the energy cap and subsequent bill increase is going to have on the most financially vulnerable.

Charity Says Pandemic Debt Crisis Is Inevitable (Keep the Faith)

Fifth Self-employed (SEISS) grant: who is eligible and how do I apply?(Motley Fool)

Friday, 30 July

Yesterday StepChange reacted to the Bank of England’s latest Money & Credit figures, which show a return to net borrowing for the third month in a row.

We also released our own client figures for June, showing that we are consistently seeing certain groups over-represented among those coming to us for debt advice.

Furlough and your finances: How to prepare, tips to save money and keep your stress levels under control (iNews)

We were mentioned as a source of advice in a range of regional print edition outlets.

Friday, 23 July

On Wednesday, we responded to the FCA’s Action against Debt Packager Firms, with Head of Policy Peter Tutton welcoming it and saying that action to reform the IVA market ‘can’t come soon enough.’

Our comments were featured in industry outlets such as Best Advice and CCR Magazine

Klarna-challenger Zilch strikes $100m deal with Goldman Sachs and Daily Mail owner (City AM)

How to save money and budget now your social calendar is filling up (Cosmpolitan)

Friday 16 July

Yesterday, we put out a press release in response to the new FCA Business Plan, which set out a number of key priorities for the regulator over the coming months and years. This was covered by The Financial Times and The Sun.

Richard Lane, Director of External Affairs, was interviewed by Hits Radio Manchester talking about the harm payday loans can cause

We werre mentioned as a source of advice in Inside Conveyancing and on BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Radio Suffolk, during two separate discussions around debt and benefits

Friday, 9 July

Yesterday, MPs from across Parliament took part in an important debate on the effect the Covid-19 pandemic has had on household debt, discussing many of the issues we’ve recently been campaigning on such as rental evictions, the universal credit uplift and bailiff reform. We highlighted some of the key contributions from MPs such as Paul Maynard and Yvonne Fovargue on our Twitter account.

Off the back of yesterday’s parliamentary debate, StepChange statistics on the scale of debt in the country were mentioned on BBC Radio 4’s news bulletins (BBC Radio 4).

Our campaign for greater support for renters as the eviction ban ends continues to be mentioned in the print editions of locals newspapers (Hartlepool Mail, Sunderland Echo).

Single-mum explains how she saved £8,500 in six months by ditching Tesco, cutting bills and buying Poundland make-up ( The Sun + Scottish Sun).

Sefton Council reports best performing Council Tax collection rate (Q Local – Southport).

We continue to be mentioned as a source of advice during radio discussions about debt (talkSport, talkRadio)

Friday, 2 July

Over last weekend, a client of ours, Darren, appeared on Radio 4’s Moneybox this weekend as part of a piece looking at the changes to DROs this week. Darren discussed his experiences of living with debt and with creditors chasing him, as well as his experience getting help. (BBC Radio 4, starts at 16 mins 20 secs, please be aware Darren’s story contains discussion of sensitive topics such as suicide)

On Tuesday this week, we responded to the latest Bank of England credit data, alongside releasing our own latest findings about our clients. With Peter Tutton warning that the data masked serious debt problems, and that public policy would need to continue to focusing on supporting those affected.

Oir comments were published across a number of different outlets including Sky News, The Guardian, CCR Magazine, Credit Connect.

Yesterday we warmly welcomed the appointment of our new trustee, Yvonne MacDermid, who was formerly the Chief Exec of Money Advice Scotland, receiving coverage in the trade press as included in today’s summary below.

And today the new issue of Credit Strategy’s digital magazine, featuring CEO Phil Andrew’s latest column, becomes available via their digital and print edition magazines. In it Phil explains what we are learning from disproportionate effects of debt on certain groups during the pandemic, and why in the light of this a strong safety net is important (Credit Strategy - £)

HSBC UK launch new credit card service - how your repayments could be affected (Express)

Official data masks serious household debt problems (Ekklesia).

Yvonne MacDermid joins StepChange board of trustees (CCR Magazine).

PayPoint reinforces NRLA call for greater support for financially vulnerable (CCR Magazine)

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