“Poverty, debt and economics”

Michael WatersMichael WatersMichael WatersMichael Waters reports back from the Debt Advice team’s visit to the Community Money Advice conference:

The Debt Strand is a member of Community Money Advice (CMA). Their annual conference was held in Shrewsbury 31st October and 1st November.

There are now 145 members of CMA spread right across England and Wales and three centres in Scotland. It was interesting to note that the Salvation Army has joined CMA and has four centres operating at present but plans to roll out additional centres right across the UK.

Each day started with worship.  The agenda can be summarised:

  1.  Debt and mental health issues.
  2.  New processes and guidelines introduced by the The  Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  As the Debt Strand is authorised by the FCA we must incorporate these by March 2015.
  3.  “Poverty, debt and economics” a talk by Brother Robert, a Franciscan monk.  Brother Robert provided startling statistics and discussed the issue of poverty in a Biblical context.
  4.  The “Change Account” from Advice UK – this is a new and innovative form of bank account available to all to be launched during November – watch this space!
  5.  Trussell Trust (food banks).  The ability of the TT to analyse the types of clients, and the cause of their needs has led the government to trust their statistics.  Many food banks incorporate  additional services such as debt advice and benefits advice. CMA is planning for enhanced cooperation with the Trussell Trust.
  6.  The software used by the CMA is to be improved and the new version will be rolled out starting in January. This version will be web based, and we will be able to access the records from any  PC with internet access and with the right security codes.

The consequences of debt were spelt out again:

  • Relationship breakdown
  • Stress
  • Secrecy
  • Loss of job
  • Addiction
  • Depression
  • Crime
  • Suicidal thoughts.

We came away from the conference reaffirmed that the work of CMA and the Trussell Trust is both needed and valid; and that the importance of helping people in poverty is confirmed throughout the Bible.




19th Nov 2014 Posted in: News by Stella Jennings 0

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