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Bankruptcy Debt Trap - CAP’s campaign to help more people through DRO

calendar23 September 2014

Dawn Stobart's avatar Dawn Stobart

Bankruptcy Debt Trap - CAP’s campaign to help more people through DRO

It’s not every day that you get together with other organisations to campaign for change that could truly impact the lives of hundreds of people struggling in poverty across the UK. Just last month, I sat around a table in Parliament with key stakeholders in the industry to discuss proposed changes to the Insolvency Service.

It was exciting to hear that we were all united in our concerns for those on low incomes who struggle to afford bankruptcy fees, and to know that CAP’s recommendations will be a key consideration in the Government’s review process.

Like many people, you might be surprised to discover that it costs an individual £705* to go bankrupt, or double that if you are married and your debts are held jointly. You may think finding hundreds of pounds to escape debt is unjust, especially for clients who are on a low income. We think so, and that’s why we are campaigning for change.

We want to see more people able to access the Government’s lower cost alternative called a Debt Relief Order (DRO). This solution is available to people on a low income and with few assets, yet many of our clients narrowly miss out on qualifying for this because their debts are over the £15,000 threshold.

For these clients, the alternative is to save up for the bankruptcy fees, which would take years, so CAP helps by raising the money through our bursary fund and by applying for grants on their behalf. However, we estimate there are another 300,000 people in the UK who are in a similar position but without help. These people are simply too poor to go bankrupt.

CAP has been working together with the Insolvency body R3 and StepChange to input into the review of the DRO process. Our main recommendation is to raise the level of debt that can be processed through a DRO to £30,000. This simple change could mean that every day, approximately 465 individuals struggling with unmanageable debt and poverty will have access to a solution they have been previously excluded from.

Since the meeting, there has been real anticipation that change could be on the near horizon. Our next step is to respond the Insolvency Service’s call for evidence on 9 October. I am excited because I know CAP’s data represents some of the poorest and most vulnerable in society; it’s invaluable. It makes me proud to be a part of a charity that gives a voice to these people, and we are expecting real solutions to be made for them.

You can read our full report ‘Too poor to go bankrupt’ here.

*Fee for England & Wales (Northern Ireland = £645-670 and Scotland = £200).

Only four paydays to Christmas!

calendar16 September 2014

Maria Hubbard's avatar Maria Hubbard

Only four paydays to Christmas!

Whilst it’s a bit premature to start hanging tinsel around the tree, it is time to begin thinking about your Christmas budget. It may feel like Summer’s barely finished, but on 16 September, Christmas will be 100 days away – that’s only four pay packets to go! Be prepared – sit down, and start making a plan. It will only take a few hours of your time, but will make a huge difference when it comes to examining your bank balance.

Here are five top tips to help you get started:

1. Decide what you can afford to save: Set a budget and stick to it. Be realistic – whilst you may want to get your child the latest game station, it won’t be worth it if you can’t afford to treat your family for six months afterwards.Think about the long-term effects of your decisions and don’t put extra pressure on yourself. Christmas is already costly enough, without trying to provide a room packed with presents.

2. Pool together with relatives: If there is something special you are determined to give your child, ask others to get involved. Friends and family often struggle to know what to buy, and can spend hours searching the shops. Suggesting that they pool their money together and assist you in buying that dream gift is the perfect solution. Not only will they be content knowing they have bought something worthwhile, but your budget will also remain in tact. If you speak to them early, the likelihood is they will be keen to be part of this plan.

3. Buy in advance: Buying a few gifts in advance will also help to spread costs, saving you from that one, lump sum of money. Take advantage of any bargains you find, and save some cash before prices rise.

4: Be creative: For those who like to be creative, making home-made gifts is also a great idea. Your friends will appreciate the personal gesture and you’ll get to spend time doing something you love.

5: Separate savings: In addition to presents, Christmas is also full of fantastic food, glittering decorations and indulgent parties. When thinking about costs, consider everything you’re planning to do, whether it’s a trip to the ice-rink with the family or your annual work do. Saving separately for all occasions will enable you to know how much cash you have available and what’s left to spend.

Prioritise the things that are important to you, whether that’s a turkey roast or a trip to the panto, and cut costs in other places. Don’t let extra expenses take the merry out of Christmas this year. Start saving, set a budget and plan ahead.

For great advice on budgeting and saving, book yourself onto a free CAP Money Course today - click here to find one near you.

Peter’s story

calendar31 July 2014

John Kirkby's avatar John Kirkby

When Peter and his wife Asha went on a CAP Money course at their local church they made some life changing discoveries...

The CAP Money Course is running in over 850 churches across the UK - why not find out if there is one near you? Money affects everyone, everyday, so no matter how in control you think you are there is always more to learn! Search for a course near you and learn to budget, save and spend!

It’s almost here! Hear from a saddle sore John Kirkby…

calendar20 June 2014

John Kirkby's avatar John Kirkby

The 4 July is speeding towards us faster than Team Sky going downhill with a following wind! Hear how John's training for the Grand Depart Cycle Challenge is going – he could do with a boost from you all right now! 

Sponsor John now!


David has found work for the first time ever!

calendar08 May 2014

John Kirkby's avatar John Kirkby

I hear good things every day, but this week, I heard that two people who have been unemployed for 14 years have landed paid jobs through CAP Job Clubs! Can you imagine how excited they will feel?

One of these was David, a 30 year-old from Belfast who has never had paid work since leaving school at 16. He has now found permanent work in a book and toy store. That’s fourteen years of unemployment now behind him, and a hopeful future ahead. 

Hearing about David has come at a time when the Government is launching their Help to Work scheme. We agree that people who are long-term unemployed need more support to get back into work and believe that the most important support for them is relational. This is something that the Church does best, offering help from people who believe in them and who can give them the self-confidence they need.This is why our job clubs are proving so successful, with over 100 people already finding work since our first club opened its doors last year.

David joined his local CAP Job Club in September 2013 and we have been supporting him since then. As well as completing the job club course, we put him onto an Essential Skills ICT course that was held specially for CAP Job Club members. David's CAP Job Coach then arranged a four-week work placement for him that proved to be his breakthrough event, giving him experience to put on his job applications. David also really benefitted from the ICT course, as it gave him a great qualification for his CV.

Because we aim to look at each person as an individual to see what might be holding them back, David has been supported in the best possible way. The best thing is that he has experienced the genuine love and care of the local church in a relevant and life transforming way. I can’t help but get excited about that, and I’m sure you feel the same! Could your church get involved and offer hope to the unemployed in your community?

Find out more about CAP Job Clubs

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