Ensure the credit industry forbearance framework, designed to support consumers in financial difficulties, is matched by comparable standards across other sectors such as HMRC, local authorities and utilities
The credit industry forbearance and early intervention framework is well established and effective, but we know from research produced by debt charities that households are increasingly dealing with debt problems relating to creditors outside the credit industry. We believe that forbearance standards may not be as well developed in these sectors. Debt charities have in particular identified local authorities as having particularly over-zealous collection processes, for example through very rapid use of bailiffs as the usual form of debt collection.
The UK Cards Association is calling on Government to put forbearance under the spotlight, so that consumers can be confident that they will be supported, whatever type of debts they have, when they come across difficult times, where this is often due to a change in personal circumstances, i.e. a life event such as redundancy or divorce.
This is even more important now, given the evidence from the Money Advice Trust and other debt charities showing that more UK households are struggling even to pay for everyday expenditure like council tax, utility and telephone bills.