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1.2 million helped last year by Money Advice Trust

National charity the Money Advice Trust has revealed that it helped more than 1.2 million people in 2014, as it continues its ambitious three-year plan aimed at helping more people, more effectively.  The charity, which helps people across the UK to tackle their debts and manage their money wisely, is continuing to invest in new technologies, partners with new organisations and work closely with other debt advice charities to further improve its impact.

The figure was published today in the Trust’s annual Impact Report, and includes people helped directly through its free National Debtline and Business Debtline advice services, and indirectly through the Wiseradviser training programme. 

Helping more people
• National Debtline, which provides free, independent and confidential advice by phone and online, provided 431,717 advice sessions to 287,149 people in 2014
• Business Debtline, the UK’s only free, dedicated debt advice service for small businesses, provided 64,923 advice sessions to 42,352 small business owners
• Wiseradviser, the charity’s online and face-to-face training service for money advisers, provided 8,808 training places to advisers working in organisations across the UK, benefiting hundreds of thousands of clients

More effectively
• 80 percent of National Debtline clients felt more in control of their financial situation as a result of the advice they received, while 98 percent were clear about the next steps they needed to take to deal with their situation
• 93 percent of Business Debtline clients felt more knowledge about financial matters and 54 percent were able to resolve their immediate problems and continue to trade
• 86 percent of advisers trained through Wiseradviser reported that the training enabled them to better inform their clients, and 77 percent found their knowledge of money advice had improved substantially.

For the first time, in 2014 more people were helped by National Debtline and Business Debtline online (201,877) than by phone (127,624), as the Trust continues to invest to achieve a channel shift towards online advice.  This has included launching new websites for both services in 2014, adding new services such as webchat and continuing to grow our presence on online forums and social media.

During the year the Trust published its influential Changing Household Budgets report, documenting how growing numbers of people are facing a new type of debt problem as they grapple with essential living costs.  The charity’s policy work, contributing to 21 consultations during the year, helped to secure changes to Debt Relief Order and bankruptcy thresholds, fairer protections from bailiffs and legislation to enable basic bank accounts for people who are bankrupt.  The Trust also continued to raise awareness of debt advice through the media, securing more than 2,000 items of media coverage throughout the year.

Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said:

“We are proud to have helped more than 1.2 million people last year, and I am pleased to report we are on target to help even more in 2015 as we continue to invest in improving our services.  At the heart of our three-year plan is our belief that the best way to help people in debt is to empower them to help themselves.  The self-help advice we provide allows people to control their own debt situation, resulting in better long-term financial health.

“Despite the welcome recovery in the economy, we continue to hear from households and small business owners who are struggling to cope.  The need for our service, and free independent debt advice, remains as pertinent as ever.  We are hugely grateful to all of our partners, funders and supporters who continue to enable us to carry out our life-changing work – and look forward to continuing to work with them in the years ahead.”

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