Multi-million pound reprieve for debt advisers welcomed

EASTBOURNE MP Stephen Lloyd has welcomed a £27million reprieve given to debt advisers, but is continuing to press the government to do more.

For the past five years, the £27million-a-year Financial Inclusion Fund has been paying for about 500 specialists who work out of Citizen’s Advice Bureau in England and Wales to give free advice. However this funding was due to run out next month.

But now, hundreds of specialist debt advisers facing redundancy can continue their service after the government found the money needed.

Mr Lloyd has been campaigning in Parliament for the government to reconsider its cuts to social welfare groups such as Eastbourne Citizen’s Advice Bureau and welcomed this additional funding.

He said, “I’m delighted the government has been able to find additional funds to support these debt advisers. We all now recognise that there has to be cuts across government departments; however I’m determined to ensure these cuts do not affect the less well of in society disproportionately.”

Mr Lloyd questioned the Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly in Parliament to see if similar funding could also be found to support groups such as the Brighton Housing Trust in Eastbourne, which is facing cuts to their funding. Brighton Housing Trust deals with hundreds of specialist housing cases per year and is projected to lose up to 80 per cent of it funding which will severely affect its ability to help those in need.

Mr Lloyd said, “The cost to the taxpayer of legal aid has spiralled in recent years, and reform was long overdue.

“However, I feel very strongly that the cuts to groups such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and the Brighton Housing Trust who do such fantastic work in my constituency need to be revisited. Such groups are preventive and enabling in their nature and actually work to save the government money by resolving a whole range of problems before they escalate, often resulting in further legal action at great cost to the government.”