StepChange wins Debt Advice Provider of the Year Award
Breathing Space campaign recognised at Credit Strategy Awards
17 May, 2019
StepChange Debt Charity was last night awarded a prestigious industry award, in recognition of its Breathing Space campaign. The charity was named “Debt Advice Provider of the Year” at the Credit Strategy Awards, one of the credit industry’s leading award ceremonies.
StepChange’s campaign for Breathing Space started in 2014 and has called on the Government to introduce a statutory period of respite from interest and charges while a borrower in problem debt seeks debt advice. Just under two thirds of StepChange clients who weren’t protected from interest, charges, and enforcement action being added to their debts went on to take out credit to cope with the added pressure.
The Breathing Space campaign’s latest success was the commitment by the Government in the October 2018 budget to begin a consultation on a proposed breathing space scheme. While viewed by the charity as a step in the right direction, StepChange’s response to the Government’s calls for evidence raised certain concerns about the specifics of the scheme proposed by the government, and the charity hopes to continue to work with HM Treasury to address these issues.
Last year, StepChange provided full debt advice to over 300,000 people, and was contacted by over 600,000. Demand for debt advice has been growing over the quarter of a century the charity has been operating. Last year, StepChange announced plans to double the amount of people it was able to provide debt advice to by 2022, as well as introducing new services aimed to provide early intervention for financially vulnerable people.
Phil Andrew, CEO of StepChange Debt Charity, said:
"We are best known for our operational work, being contacted by well over 600,000 people a year seeking help with their debts. However, we are also an increasingly active campaigning charity, and it is really good to see recognition for that element of our work being recognised as we move towards Breathing Space moving from pipe dream to reality.
"The statutory protection this will provide for people seeking to repay their debt is long overdue, and brings greater fairness more akin to the protections the law already provides for people seeking insolvency-based debt solutions.
"Looking ahead, we want to make a difference on a nationally relevant scale both in terms of the services we provide and the policy changes we help to bring about."
Notes to Editors
- StepChange published its response to HM Treasury’s consultation on introducing a breathing space scheme in January.