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Money Advice Trust launches 2016 impact report as demand for demand advice grows

The Money Advice Trust has today (30 June 2017) published a new report detailing the impact of its advice services, training and influencing work in 2016. 

The report is published as the charity revealed a significant increase in demand for its advice services – with National Debtline helping eight percent more people by phone and seeing a 25 percent surge in website visits in the first five months of this year.

In Changing Lives Together, the Money Advice Trust has reported back on the 2016 results of its three year plan to “help more people, more effectively” – including through expanding its frontline services and changing the ways in which it provides support.

Last year the charity’s National Debtline and Business Debtline advisers helped people by phone and 37,796 by webchat in 2016, and received more than 1.2 million visits to its websites.

National Debtline provides free, independent, confidential advice on personal debt, and helped 138,120 people by phone and a further 34,065 people through webchat in 2016. There were more than 1.1 million visits to the National Debtline website during the year. After receiving advice, 93 percent of callers said their debts had reduced or stabilised nine to 12 months later, and 87 percent felt more in control of their finances.

Business Debtline, the UK’s only free dedicated debt advice service for small business owners, helped 20,860 people on the phone and a further 3,731 people by webchat – with 132,462 visits to the Business Debtline website in 2016. After receiving advice, 90 percent of callers said their debts had reduced or stabilised six weeks later, with 58 percent reporting the advice they received helped them to continue trading.

Wiseradviser, the Trust’s training programme for money and debt advisers across the UK, provided 8,619 training places to 860 free-to-client organisations in 2016, with 4,385 advisers using the Wiseradviser website to access training and other learning resources. After taking part in training, 96 percent reported increased confidence when giving advice, and 94 percent shared their knowledge with their colleagues.

The Trust’s training and consultancy work grew significantly in 2016, supporting 2,308 staff working in 53 organisations to better support their customers in vulnerable circumstances. 91 percent of creditor staff rated the Trust’s e-learning as ‘above average’ or ‘excellent’, with 95 percent saying it had given them an above average understanding of vulnerability.

The Trust also continued its work to influence change in the UK’s money and debt environment in 2016, responding to 25 policy consultations and engaging with decision makers on a wide range of areas including vulnerability, local government debt collection and bailiff reform. The charity raised awareness of free debt advice through media coverage reaching more than 18 million people a month, and supported four innovative money advice projects across the country through its Innovation Grants programme.

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

“2016 was another year of expansion for our frontline services, as we increased the number of advisers at both National Debtline and Business Debtline to help us meet ever-growing demand. We achieved another successful year by continuing to adapt our services, and working closely with our partners to help even more people, more effectively.

“We are, of course, seeing significant uncertainty in the UK economy, and we have already seen a significant rise in demand for debt advice in the first few months of 2017. Rising inflation, slow wage growth and the continued expansion of household borrowing are all signs that demand for debt advice will continue to increase.

“We will do all we can to meet this growing demand in the coming months and years. As we look to the future, I look forward to continuing to work with our many partners to help even more people to change their lives for the better.”​​

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