With the planned cuts to the Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) and the Money Advice Service (MAS) due in October, what is in the store for the provision of debt advice?
Previous cuts to the CAB has already seen an increase in the strain of the supply and demand of the availability of help. Shorter opening hours and total CAB office closures has seen an unprecended strain on their services.
What value of their services?
The CAB typically gives you template letters to send to your creditors and a budget planner and then tells you how to approach your creditors. Some will go a step further and help you in the short-term as well. But for people wanting a complete overview of the available routes to getting debt free and then the ability to have someone else manage their debt management plan or apply for an IVA or bankruptcy, the debtor has always had to go elsewhere.
The Money Advice Service is similar to the CAB in that it can not provide a long term solution that actively asserts the debtor. They have plenty of free fact sheets and information, which is great if the debtor is self-motivated to help themselves. But again if they need an IVA or bankruptcy, or want are not confident enough to set up and maintain a debt management plan, the debtor has to go to another third party.
So how damaging are the cuts?
In a short answer, not very. The long answer is obviously more complicated. Whether or not the CAB or MAS offers free advice, whether they exist at all, there are plenty of alternatives.
- An abundance of information of the internet, whether these are specialized debt help websites, factsheets, or biopic experiences. Each one has its own use depending on your circumstances.
- The credits themselves will help you when you contact them. Although this process can be laborious and you have to maintain a discipline to pay them on time and update them as required.
- Free organizations exist which will not just provide debt advice, but also set your plan up and help you on an ongoing basis. Try to find one which is part of a trade organization which promotes excellence in delivery standards.
Good quality debt advice is available, you just need to know where to look. The cutbacks for the CAB and MAS need not hinder your going to an alternative supplier to help you get debt free.