Debt advice cuts suspended after Unite campaign
Moves to halve funding for face-to-face debt advice services across England have been suspended after a campaign by Unite.
The Money and Pension Advice Service’s (MaPS) plans to halve face-to-face funding would have meant redundancies for debt advice specialists and a much-reduced service for people in need of help.
MaPS suspended the cuts following a campaign from Unite, in which the union warned that they would open up debt advice ‘deserts’ across England.
Unite said that MaPS’ plans were based on research conducted before the pandemic and did not take into account the huge changes since March 2020.
Nearly three quarters of debt advisers say their cases are more complex now than before the pandemic. Many more people are juggling debt from rent arrears, loss of wages, increasing fuel costs and rising prices.
MaPS is directly funded by the government via the Department for Work and Pensions and also has significant input from the Treasury.
Unite national officer Siobhan Endean said: “Unite welcomes MaPS’ decision to listen to our members and suspend its disastrous cuts to community-based face-to-face debt advice services.
“Unite Debt Advice Network is ready to work with MaPS to ensure any future commissioning model protects our members’ pay and conditions and makes debt advice effective and accessible to everyone who needs it.”