Martin Lewis denounces “substantial reduction” in face-to-face debt counseling services


The financial journalist’s Money and Mental Health Policy Institute responds to recent research into the ongoing resumption of debt counseling services across England.

This process is carried out by Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) which is responsible for providing debt advice to people in need.

The institute’s research found that the new procurement process will make debt counseling more readily available across the country with additional government funding.

However, this will lead to a reduction in face-to-face contact between counselors and for those seeking help.

Specifically, this is due to MaPS ‘decision to allocate 55% of debt counseling funding to service operators that operate at the national level rather than the local level.

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These services are considered to be better equipped to deal with remote interactions which are more frequently used.

Under the new government contract, debt counselors will no longer be required to meet with their clients face to face, which financial experts say is a big mistake.

Experts, like Martin lewis, I think automated phone lines and other online services will not do what is necessary to help people get out of debt.

Mr Lewis said: ‘While I welcome the overall increase in funding and the goal of reaching more people, I fear this may come unintentionally at the expense of the most vulnerable, many of whom will need help. face to face.


“Part of the problem is that MaPs leaves it up to national debt counseling providers to decide how much money is allocated for face-to-face support.

“This will allow them to make a call based on their own user base, but what is needed is high level coordination to ensure that across the UK the right balance between different types of advice is respected.

“By choosing this mode of operation, MaPS is in fact abdicating its responsibilities and risks collapsing the provision of face-to-face advice to those who need it. “

“MaPS has a tough job, and there is no easy choice here, but we believe the best thing to do is to put this recommissioning process on hold, publish the evidence to support these changes, and put in place a minimum funding quota that must go to face to face debt counseling.

“At a time when so many people are in debt and distress, this will be essential to ensure that vulnerable people who need face-to-face support miss nothing.

Helen Undy, Executive Director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, explained how reducing face-to-face interactions will affect the most vulnerable in society, especially those with poor mental health.

Ms Undy said: “For people with mental health issues, it is essential that debt counseling is accessible through a range of different communication channels, including face to face.

“Some people may find it difficult to leave home and will only be able to access support online or by phone.

“But for others, being able to speak to a counselor face to face is essential to help them get involved in debt support and avoid very serious financial hardship.

“While our research supports the expansion of online and telephone counseling, this absolutely must not come at the expense of the face-to-face services that some of the most vulnerable people rely on. “

“We are very concerned that people with serious mental health and financial challenges will lose out in the changes MaPS has made to debt counseling services, and that many may not be able to get help.” has contacted MaPS for comment.

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