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Disabled and Terminally Ill Forced into Debt, says CAP

Wednesday November 30 2022

Single parents, people with disabilities and those facing terminal illness are among groups at most risk of needing to use credit to cover essential costs to stay alive this winter according to a new report.

The Lifelines to Safety report from Christians Against Poverty (CAP) states that 60% of CAP clients with a terminal illness and 44% of those with a physical disability have been forced to use credit as a financial support lifeline.

Across the charity, a total of 88% of CAP’s clients had turned to credit because of a financial or personal crisis.

The report highlights the need for further financial lifelines to be provided to vulnerable people facing a desperate winter, so they don’t have to rely on credit to survive. It also highlights the extent to which people are being forced to use credit to pay for essentials to live. 42% of CAP’s single parent clients and 47% of those who’ve experienced abuse have had to turn to credit in a crisis, often pushed into borrowing due to unexpected household bills, repairs or the loss of a job or relationship.

Director of External Affairs, Gareth McNab said: “CAP’s Lifelines to Safety report reveals the desperate struggle many households on a low income currently face and the lack of financial lifelines they have available to avoid falling into serious problem debt and to help them survive this winter.

“It highlights the difficulties that are leaving people with little choice but to turn to credit as a lifeline to pay for essentials, such as food, energy and household bills.

“Our concern is that there will be an increase in the number of people in vulnerable circumstances with no option but to use inappropriate, insecure or high cost credit. In a just and compassionate society, no one should have to rely on credit of any kind to meet their basic needs.

“This is why we are calling on the Government to prioritise putting in place adequate safeguards against families having to use risky credit options as their only lifeline against facing destitution this winter.”

In order to protect households at risk of being cut adrift over the coming months, CAP is asking the UK Government for a range of measures including unfreezing Local Housing Allowance, expand the Help to Save savings account to all Universal Credit claimants, introduce regulation for digital ‘buy now pay later’ products and new no-interest loan pilot schemes for the replacements of vital household items.


 


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