My pick of last week’s news is the Citizens Advice report “Near the cliff-edge”.
Tweet of the week
1/n. Are we heading for a cliff edge as govt support comes to an end? Our data is starting to suggest there’ll need to be further bold policy measures to avoid this – particularly as the way out now seems gradual. #Covid19 THREAD–>
— James Plunkett (@jamestplunkett) May 2, 2020
Near the cliff-edge: how to protect households facing debt during COVID-19 Citizens Advice: An estimated 6 million people have fallen behind on a household bill due to Coronavirus and the policy response to limit its impact. Concerningly, 4 million have fallen behind on rent, council tax or a telecoms bill where they have little protection from aggressive debt collection when temporary protections on enforcement come to an end.
- When the protection schemes end: a transition package to help households recover from the coronavirus shock Citizens Advice.
- Ending Lockdown Could Catapult Many Off A Financial Cliff Edge HuffPo: blog by Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice CEO.
Many people have asked why I wrote my last blog post Another astonishing blog by Amigo founder, from calling Amigo “a dumpster fire” to saying the new board will “in all likelihood take litigation action against the outgoing board members”.
Plastic purge: Britain’s personal debt pile SHRANK in March as people shun credit cards amid coronavirus crisis Mail: Bank of England found households paid back £3.8bn more than they borrowed
Equity release lenders ease rules on advice Times (paywall): Because of the impact on an estate, equity release customers have to get face-to-face financial advice — but that has not been possible under the lockdown.
Coronavirus and consumers’ complaints FCA: Firms must prioritise vulnerable customers; customers asked to allow firms more time unless they are in priority need.
UK energy firms using debt collectors despite coronavirus agreement Guardian: A letter sent by a debt collector on behalf of Shell Energy, seen by the Guardian, warns one customer that arrangements may be made for a doorstep collector to visit their home in order to chase an outstanding balance of £78.51.
- the March BEIS statement on agreement with energy suppliers.
Bailiffs banned from turning up at your home during coronavirus lockdown Mirror: charities want the Government to go further in regulating the debt collection business.
Debt warning over car finance payment holidays BBC: Radio 5 Live has found that customers of some car finance providers still haven’t been granted breaks, despite asking for the last six weeks.
Ireland: Covid-19 mortgage break to be extended from three months to six TheJournal.ie: All of the country’s main banks are participating in the break.
Review of approach to reimbursement of customers – summary report Lending Standards: My cynical reaction – with an absence of any numbers in the report, my guess is the examples of good practice were a lot less common than the problems identified.
Coronavirus: ‘I’m being bombarded by gambling ads’ BBC: “I’m being bombarded,” says Kelly. “These pink, fluffy ads are flashing up all day, every day. Maybe I notice them now because we’re indoors more, but it feels like the gambling industry’s really trying to coin in on the lockdown.”
- Coronavirus: Communities Secretary vows priority council housing for people fleeing domestic abuse Politics Home.
- This pandemic shows how much everyone needs a place to call home Inside Housing blog: A national and sustained housebuilding programme of a scale and energy not seen since post World War II is in the gift of our government.
Coronavirus ‘will hasten the decline of cash’ BBC: The lockdown has led to a 60% fall in the number of withdrawals from cash machines, although people are taking out bigger sums.
UK food banks face record demand in coronavirus crisis Guardian: Charities call for urgent boost to benefits, especially for families with children.
Number of new PIP claimants has reduced by more than 50 per cent since the coronavirus outbreak took hold RightsNet: DWP Minister says ‘we’re not totally sure why’.