Coronavirus debt advice support in England
It is critical people have access to debt advice when they need it and the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing sets out a goal of 2 million more people receiving debt advice by 2030.
The Coronavirus pandemic will have an impact on people’s financial wellbeing, and we expect the demand for debt advice services to increase. To help combat this, in June MaPS secured an extra £38 million to help providers deliver advice to more people in England who may be experiencing financial problems due to coronavirus. Work to allocate this funding is under way and details will be shared on this page.
Increasing debt advice capacity in England
An initial £16 million in 2020/21 – aimed at increasing the capacity of high-quality, free-to-customer debt advice by recruiting and training additional debt advisers. Our focus is to ensure that customers have access to free of charge debt advice in a way that fits their needs. We’re also aware a huge number of people will be experiencing financial difficulties for the first time too and some solely as a result of the pandemic.
To meet the increased demand, we are funding a range of providers who will offer a variety of debt advice channels through which people can engage. We know many customers are engaging with digital services more, some for the first time.
We have finalised our grant award process and are mobilising plans to enable recruitment, training and the ongoing costs of an additional c.550 new trainee debt advisers delivering advice across various channels in England to be met. Some of the new trainee advisers will be recruited within the advice agencies we already fund, while others will be in the broader advice sector through grants awarded via an open market process.
See our full list of our debt advice funded suppliers.
Maintaining debt advice capacity in England
We have undertaken a market engagement exercise to gather insight on how Covid-19 has impacted the income streams of debt advice providers. We are now reviewing the insight gathered to understand where reductions in income, due to coronavirus, are putting vital debt support services at risk.
We held a webinar for interested organisations on Friday 17 July for organisations that meet the eligibility criteria – including those not currently funded by MaPS – to supply information about reduced income linked to Covid-19 and the impact this is having on maintaining pre-pandemic capacity to provide debt advice.
Details can be found on Contracts Finder, including a recording of the webinar.
Improving digital capability of money guidance and debt advice
An initial £7 million of funding in 2020/21 will be aimed at improving our digital money guidance and debt advice offering and building our capability to allow more people to access the support they need digitally.
Our focus is on creating an approach to holistic guidance that helps customers understand their financial picture and access the services that are best suited to meet their needs.
We are currently running an early market engagement process, details of which can be found on Contracts Finder. This includes a link to a webinar held for interest organisations.
Keep up to date
Details of any future funding opportunities will be announced via the MaPS website and by signing up to our stakeholder newsletter.