This week the Unite Debt Advice Network took to the streets of central London to protest the cuts to debt advice services. At a time when the need for debt advice is rising and cases are becoming more complex we need a significant increase in investment. Instead funding is being cut by around 20% and the Money and Pensions Service is trying to get 'more for less' by concentrating funding on digital and telephone services.
Debt advisers working in local Citizens Advice Bureaux and community-based independent advice agencies could soon be facing redundancy due to cuts in their grant funding from the Money and Pensions Service ('MaPS') and protests against the cuts will be taking place outside DWP, HM Treasury, and MaPS offices on Monday.
Earlier this week, CfRC Director, Damon Gibbons participated in Tech Nation's Finclusion events as a panellist in the 'Products for the People' session arranged by Auden. Drawing on our experience of rent-flex, he argued that it is no longer helpful to think of exclusion in a binary fashion. People are not only excluded or included. They are part of a broad spectrum. Digital services need to start from where the customer is at. There are limitations to the extent to which digital can meet peoples' needs and hand-overs to phone and face-to-face services pose considerable challenges.