My pick of last week’s news is FCA takes action against debt packager firms. Three major consultations have also been announced.
Expect more next week about the proposal for a new Enforcement Conduct Authority, trailed in Families face ‘tidal wave’ of debt, warns think-tank with a plan to protect them from the bailiffs – the CSJ will be launching its report on this on 26 July.
FCA takes action against debt packager firms FCA: ‘The practices we’ve seen in this sector fall far short of the standards we expect from firms, let alone those claiming to offer help to people in need. We will not allow firms to profit from debt advice which puts their customers at risk of harm.’
- later in the week, the Insolvency Service published a news item on this: Joint work to address concerns on debt packager companies gov.uk: The Insolvency Service is working with the Recognised Professional Bodies to challenge payments made for the introduction of work, and the extent to which this presents a conflict of interest.
- City watchdog clamps down on debt firms over advice to vulnerable customers Guardian: Five firms stop handing out recommendations after FCA identifies potential conflicts of interest.
Shipshape or sinking ship? Problem debt’s impact on financial and mental wellbeing CAP: The report recommends that the UK’s financial wellbeing should be measured annually by the Money and Pensions Service using an agreed academic index.
Reforming Council Tax Support and collection in the wake of the pandemic Money Advice Trust: If we are to turn the tide on growing council tax arrears, effective Council Tax Support has to be part of the solution.
- Buy Now, Pay Later Could Be Affecting Your Chances Of Getting A Mortgage Refinery29: Barclays confirmed that all active BNPL credit agreements will be considered ongoing monthly payments when affordability is assessed.
- Fintech: Apple may squash the buy now, pay later party FT (paywall): Klarna is lossmaking, while Apple’s bumper profits and multiple revenue streams give it flexibility to drive down fees and grab market share.
High cost credit:
- Provident voting on Scheme RNS: As expected, a very large majority voted in favour. The second court hearing is on 30 July.
- Friendless Amigo rolls the dice once again Times (paywall): “I thought, goodness me, just how close to the wire some of these people live”, the CEO says of Amigo customers.
Families face ‘tidal wave’ of debt, warns think-tank with a plan to protect them from the bailiffs Telegraph (paywall): A think tank is setting up an initiative to protect the increasing numbers of debt-ridden families from overzealous bailiffs
- Kids ‘terrified’ after police in riot van visit mum’s home over debt that wasn’t hers Mirror: a story which shows how badly bailiff reform is needed.
Poverty Alliance demand publication of Universal Credit cut analysis Poverty Alliance: The DWP refused to disclose any analysis on the potential impact on poverty of cutting Universal Credit by £20 this autumn, deeming the disclosure of the information to not be in the public interest.
#KeepTheLifeline: urging the Government not to cut Universal Credit JRF: A cut of £20 a week to Universal Credit, scheduled for 6 October, will impose the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the modern welfare state began, more than 70 years ago.
Scrap two-child limit on benefits, urge government’s social mobility advisers Guardian: Social Mobility Commission also calls for £10 a week increase in child benefit to help generation recover from devastating pandemic.
Tories quietly ditch plans to extend sick pay to 2million more Brits Mirror: Two years ago the government started a conversation about removing the £120-a-week earnings threshold in Statutory Sick Pay – but now it says it’s not the right time for change
Three major consultations
- Disabled people encouraged to have their say in shaping future of DWP benefits system Daily Record: I agree with this comment from Scope: “Overhauling the woefully flawed assessment process has to be a priority. The high rate of successful appeals demonstrates the scale of the problem.”
Energy retail: opt-in and testing opt-out switching gov.uk: a consultation on two different switching schemes aiming to reduce the loyalty penalty suffered when people remain on the same contract.
- Government to tackle ‘subscription traps’, ban fake reviews and safeguard Christmas savings cash as it unveils new consumer protections MSE: also includes a proposal to halve the 8 week wait before a complaint can be sent to an ombudsman.
- Five proposed changes to consumer protections and what it all means for you Which?
News round-ups are published every Sunday.
Subscribe to this blog to get an email when an article is published, see below.