Charity Urges Action to Prevent Covid Restrictions Forcing More People into Debt
October 21, 2020
Citizens Advice has called on the government to take action to protect people who might soon be forced further into debt because of the latest round of Covid-19 restrictions.
The charity has estimated that around six million people in the UK fell behind on their bills during the first coronavirus lockdown and has expressed concerns about how incoming restrictions might impact people whose finances are already under strain.
A key cause for concern at Citizens Advice is that some of the most vital protections given to people struggling financially in the initial phase of the pandemic might not be granted as lockdown restrictions are reintroduced.
People in different parts of the country will soon be facing a variety of different restrictions on their activities both personal and professional.
For a lot of people, the incoming rules, which are designed to limit the spread of Covid-19, will mean a loss of income and potentially the prospect of being made redundant.
Citizen Advice is warning that unless action is taken urgently to directly help people impacted by the new rules then there will be a sharp rise in the numbers of people falling behind on their most essential bills and falling deeper into debt.
“If we move into the ‘Very High’ tier without further protections in place, I’m worried about a perfect storm where people already struggling to keep their head above water financially are going to really suffer,” said Jamie McGlynn, local services manager at Citizens Advice Manchester.
“We’re also seeing lots of people whose income has dropped to nothing as they self-isolate. They’re hugely worried about the possibility of missing vital bills or running up rent arrears.”
Dame Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice’s chief executive, has said she worries that people already struggling to pay their bills will soon be faced with declining incomes due to the new Covid restrictions, alongside a lack of legal protection against bailiffs and against eviction.
“As more parts of the country move into the highest tier of coronavirus restrictions, a renewed package of protections and support is vital to keep people living there from falling into further debt,” she said.