Posted February 4, 2021
Money Advice Trust comments on summary of responses to the Cabinet Office’s call for evidence on fairness in government debt collection
The Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline, has urged the government to prioritise reforms to the way it collects debts following the Cabinet Office’s publication of responses to its call for evidence on fairness in government debt collection.
The publication highlights evidence submitted to the government on the widespread issues with the current approaches to debt collection in the public sector – including not consistently assessing affordability, poor communication with people in debt and failing to consistently identify and support vulnerable customers.
The charity has repeated its call for the government to bring forward a comprehensive package of measures to address these issues, through a Government Debt Management Bill to embed a fairer approach to debt collection across all of government.
“The responses to the Cabinet Office’s recent call for evidence confirms just how widely concerns over government debt collection practices are held. The way in which central government and local authorities collect debts requires urgent reform – particularly in the wake of Covid-19.
“The government’s intention to bring forward improvements is welcome – and with more and more people struggling to repay debts owed to government even before the coronavirus crisis hit, there is no time to waste.
“The Government should urgently bring forward a comprehensive package of measures to put affordability and fairness at the heart of government debt collection – including through a new Government Debt Management Bill – as a matter of urgency.”