Help for over-indebted consumers

Responding to the Public Accounts Committee report, The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Helping over-indebted consumers, published on 8 April, Malcolm Hurlston, chairman of leading debt charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) commented:

"CCCS welcomes this frank report. The free debt advice sector, CCCS working closely with Citizens Advice and National Debltine, is successfully providing debt advice to thousands of people in the UK who are struggling with unmanageable debt. The new CCCS arrangement for debtors who suffer an unexpected 'income shock' is an example of the innovative way that it is responding to the new needs of those struggling with debt.

"CCCS has geared up to be ready to meet any increased need, we now have capacity on our free helpline and expect to deal with a record 400,000 calls in 2010. Our internet based debt counselling Debt Remedy, which helped a quarter of a million people with debt problems last year, has virtually unlimited capacity for people who are happy to receive help online.

"The Committee errs in suggesting there is a need to expand the role of the fee paying sector in providing advice and support. Paying for debt advice is costly and unnecessary when free advice is available."