woman looks at household bill

Response to new Financial Conduct Authority report revealing level of people in East of England struggling financially


Response to new Financial Conduct Authority report revealing level of people in East of England struggling financially

A report from the Financial Conduct Authority released today shows that over 20% of those in the East of England are struggling to make ends meet. This is up by almost a fifth since February 2020, before the pandemic and cost of living crises began. Citizens Advice Ipswich has seen sharp rises in requests for charitable grant help as well as an increase in clients needing help with debt.

Money Advice Manager at Citizens Advice Ipswich, James Brewer, said:

“We welcome the FCA’s announcements on stronger protections for borrowers who find themselves in difficulty, and their advice that anyone struggling to make repayments reach out for help straight away. But what is of particular concern to our specialist debt advisers is the sheer number of clients who are in negative budgets. That is to say those households where the outgoings on essential items are higher than the money coming in. This is particularly true for people in private rented accommodation, single parent families and is increasingly also the case for working households.”

Chief Officer Nicky Willshere, responding to the FCA’s Financial Lives cost of living survey, said:

“While some people might be seeing financial pressures ease, the many thousands of households in the East of England still struggling just to afford the basics should be a cause for alarm.

“Every day, we continue to see record numbers of people who need support from food banks, who can’t afford to turn on their heating or electricity and people who’ve been made homeless by soaring housing costs.

“Politicians have taken some welcome steps to boost incomes, but this simply isn’t enough to tackle the deep-rooted issues which are driving the decline in living standards.”

Citizens Advice Ipswich helped just shy of 1000 clients with debt issues in the last twelve months, of whom 550 got specialist money advice support. 2500 clients also approached the advice agency for charitable support in the form of fuel and food vouchers as well as grants for essential items. The debts written off totalled £1,114,000 and income gained for clients came to over £2.5 million.

James Brewer adds: “Nobody should pay for debt advice. There is lots of useful information on our website to help as well as help from us here at Citizens Advice Ipswich. Don’t delay, seek help today.”