My pick of last week’s news is Single dad with just £4.61 took own life after waiting weeks for Universal Credit.
This isn’t just a benefits story, it also illustrates the failure of the regulatory system that allowed unaffordable high cost credit to be given. And it is a failure of debt advice provision that could have got this poor man the support he needed. Debt Advisers know how to reach the people who are not asking for debt advice – outreach in Sure Start Centres, GP surgeries, schools etc. This isn’t rocket science, it just needs adequate funding.
Tweet of the week
We are sad to hear about the demise of our sister law centre 😢. They served their community with distinction. Cuts to #legalaid are gutting the soul out of the legal sector. When will we say #EnoughIsEnough? #lctoday #thelawisbroken https://t.co/5fnFOckf7D
— South West London Law Centres (@SWLLawCentres) July 15, 2019
Single dad with just £4.61 took own life after waiting weeks for Universal Credit Mirror: A debt-ridden single dad of three who had waited weeks for Universal Credit took his own life — with just £4.61 left in his bank account. Phillip Herron, 34, was trying to feed and clothe his family while out of work, falling behind with rent and trying to repay £20,000 debts — including payday loans of over 1,000 per cent interest.
TEDxMidAtlantic 2011 – Eldar Shafir – Living Under Scarcity Ted talk: What makes people take out payday loans? A good introduction to their important book, Scarcity, which every regulator and debt adviser should read it.
Credit Conditions Survey – 2019 Q2 Bank of England: The net percentage balance for changes in default rates for total unsecured lending increased significantly in Q2. This was driven by a significant increase for credit card loans.
Mr Money warns of new credit cards with interest rates of up to 80% Sun: Unlike payday loans the interest on cards is uncapped – meaning it can spiral into thousands more pounds and take longer to clear.
‘I asked the bank to block my spending. It wouldn’t’ BBC: Having spent her savings, and only receiving sick pay as income, she was forced to get a credit card to pay the [council tax] bill.
Debtors keep homes as court accepts insolvency deals outside guidelines Irish Times: Landmark court ruling rebuffs AIB and Bank of Ireland efforts to block Personal Insolvency Arrangements
Benefits & other news
Young mother with small baby ‘left without food for days’ by universal credit mistake Independent: Vulnerable people unable to eat and relying on sleeping pills to curb their hunger after being refused benefits, report finds.
Dying gran left with £6 a week as benefits slashed by DWP after terminal cancer diagnosis Chronicle: “I don’t know what they expect a terminally-ill woman in a wheelchair to do. She can’t go out to work when she can’t even lift her head off the pillow. “
As doctors and psychiatrists, we have seen the devastating effects of benefit reform on our patients iNews: The benefits system is set up to disadvantage and mistrust those with mental illness, not as a humane way to support our most vulnerable.
- Problem gamblers much more likely to attempt suicide – study Guardian: Findings prompt demands for tougher action from government to protect addicts.
- ‘My son spent £3,160 in one game’ BBC When my son realised that he’d spent real money, he was completely inconsolable, saying he was so sorry for being naughty and he thought they were pretend coins.
“We should have been doing this for years”: How a radical scheme in one London borough helped over 300 families avoid eviction Prospect: Every day over 170 evictions take place across the UK. A Lewisham credit union wants more areas to adopt their simple solution.