My two picks of last week’s news are the Money and Mental health Policy Institute’s new short report Lifting the tax burden: Supporting people with mental health problems with council tax and the Rights Net article Government publishes ‘final guidance’ on the Household Support Fund for councils in England.
Tweet of the week
I’m really sorry, but you can’t say that £82000 is too little to live on but it’s fine to take £1000 a year away from people already struggling to buy food and pay the bills. Pick a position or stop saying stuff.
— Helen Barnard (@Helen_Barnard) November 9, 2021
Debt advice shake-up in England could reduce face-to-face help Guardian: Funding is increasing but most of it will go to call centres, with cash for local services halved
Talk Money Week: Proposal to cut debt advice funding will cause ‘debt advice deserts’ Yourmoney.com: according to internal projections by Citizens Advice, in West Yorkshire 32 face-to-face adviser posts will be cut to 11 and in East Riding and north Lincolnshire, 18.5 full-time equivalent posts will plummet to only four.
‘Admitting problems helped us get debt-free‘ BBC: Analysis of callers to the National Debtline found that 43% said they had not sought help earlier as they were too stressed about their debts… The report coincides with the Talk Money Week awareness campaign.
Universal credit claimants were sent unlawful demands to repay, says CPAG Guardian: many of the cases involved people who were unaware the DWP wanted retrospective evidence because they were no longer claiming universal credit, and no longer checked their online journal for DWP messages.
Bank of England considering easing mortgage rules in move that could boost house prices Mail: The central bank…will announce next month whether lenders can increase the volume of large mortgages they dish out. Banks are limited in the home loans they can give to borrowers who need more than 4.5 times their salary.
‘Thousands’ of firms facing collapse over eye-watering interest charges on Covid loans Mirror: Tens of thousands of businesses could go to the wall over high interest payments they claim they did not fully understand, and say they can’t survive unless some is written off.
Consumer car finance market fell by 21% in September Credit Connect: The percentage of private new car sales financed by FLA members in the twelve months to September 2021 was 93.8%, up from 93.3% in August.
- No school dinners if child’s debt is 2p, Gwynedd head says BBC: “We owed 36p and we had a letter,” said Mr Owen, from Penygroes, who has two children at the school.
- Council apologises for school meal debt fiasco and promises no child will be refused food Wales Online: a rapid climbdown and focus on the problems in the payment system.
Lifting the tax burden: Supporting people with mental health problems with council tax MMHPI: one in six (18%) people with mental health problems have fallen behind on their council tax payments in the previous 12 months. That is three times the proportion among those without mental health problems (6%).
Buddy Loans administration – no money for cash refunds my article – updated now the administration proposals have been published.
Utility Warehouse agrees to pay £1.5 million for issues relating to customers in debt Ofgem: Between 2013-2019, Utility Warehouse failed to take the necessary steps to treat some customers in payment difficulty fairly.
Benefits & other news
Government publishes ‘final guidance’ on the Household Support Fund for councils in England Rights Net: “vouchers should be used instead of cash where possible to help to mitigate the risk of money being spent by the recipient on things outside of the policy intent”
Government accused of ‘institutionalising’ food banks in new guidance for councils Big Issue: Councils have been told by the government to direct low-income families to foodbanks as part of a new winter support fund.
Not open all hours: banks still restrict opening Times (paywall): “It also makes it easier for banks to move from restricted opening hours to branch closure, for example by saying the number of customers using branch services has reduced.
The Government will at last tell students in England about the university ‘parental contribution’ MSE: [pre application information] now says: “Students are expected to make up the difference between the Maintenance Loan amount available and their total living costs. Financial support may be provided by the students’ parents or partner.”
Paid scam adverts: our joint letter to Nadine Dorries Which: We are writing to ask that you please publish the legal advice that is preventing you from including paid-for scam advertising in this Bill.
Hundred people die fighting for terminal illness benefits BBC: Affected families and charities said the current process was “overly complex and stressful” and it remained unclear when reforms would happen.
Gambling firms among heaviest radio advertisers during school run Guardian: Data prompts warnings about millions of children’s potential exposure to betting promotions.
Why the banking app revolution is fizzling out Times (paywall) There are dozens of apps to help us save money but there’s a lot to choose from and not many are profitable.
News round-ups are published every Sunday.
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