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This is our story: the impact of poverty in a pandemic

calendar28 April 2021

This is our story: the impact of poverty in a pandemic

Today we’re releasing the ‘Our story’ report, which shows how poverty in the COVID-19 pandemic is destroying lives across the UK.

Read the report



We asked our clients about their lives before they got debt help. Over a quarter (28%) considered or attempted suicide before seeking debt help. Over a third (37%) sacrificed meals because they couldn't afford to eat. Over half (58%) felt trapped in poverty with nobody to turn to when they had a problem.

Young people were the least likely age group to seek help despite them being among the hardest hit during the pandemic. Only 8% of CAP clients in 2020 were aged between 18-25.

Former CAP client, Paula Goddard, from Colchester explains how debt impacted her family: ‘My husband and I worked for the same company and we were both made redundant. After the redundancy the debts started building; rent arrears, Council Tax arrears, doorstep loans, catalogue loans. We were missing meals four or five nights a week so that the kids could have dinner. I didn’t want to go out, I couldn’t speak to anyone on the phone. It was a horrendous time.’

Our UK Chief Executive, Paula Stringer, says: ‘Our latest report gives just a glimpse of how much the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s lives. I believe there are millions more families in debt across the UK still suffering in silence.’

During the pandemic, debt help charities like CAP are continuing to work tirelessly to free people from the chains of poverty. Christians Against Poverty helped over 16,000 people in 2020. Over 280 local CAP Debt Centres are continuing to work alongside those in the community who’re struggling, and CAP ran over 800 budgeting courses to help equip people with the tools they need to stay out of debt. Over 2,500 people still went debt free despite the pandemic.

Despite all the challenges of the last year, we want everyone to know there is hope. There are charities out there who can offer free, expert help out of debt. Getting debt help can quickly relieve the pressure, ease the strain on people's mental health and help them get their lives back on track.

Read the report

Simplify the solution

calendar09 February 2021

Simplify the solution

We believe debt relief must be effective, accessible and affordable. That’s why CAP is committed to simplifying the solution to problem debt.

CAP’s debt help service supports people in finding a route forward (like former clients Denis and Penny, shown in the image). Often, this is through an insolvency solution that provides a fresh start for people with insurmountable financial difficulty. However, too many people face roadblocks that make finding a route out of debt impossible.

Our latest report Simplify the solution presents CAP clients’ experiences of accessing debt relief through an insolvency solution and examines the roadblocks that they face.

Click here to read Simplify the solution, where you can also see our proposals on how to improve the Debt Relief Order and ensure debt relief really helps those who desperately need it.  

You can help make a fairer system for people trapped in poverty! Add your voice to our campaign today, and tell your local MP that you want DROs to be accessible for those who need them. Use our ready-made template to email your MP.

*Photograph taken by Kathryn Anne Photography

Extend the Lifeline

calendar30 November 2020

Extend the Lifeline

When the coronavirus storm first struck the UK, the Government rightly acted swiftly and compassionately, throwing families a lifeline to help them stay afloat. It raised the standard allowance of Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £20 a week, which helped prevent a surge in poverty.¹ However, those on legacy benefits (Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Income Support) received nothing extra, leaving many vulnerable to fall into financial crisis. 

Our External Affairs Team is urging the Chancellor to extend the £20 lifeline for benefit claimants and for him to make this crucial decision now to ensure those receiving legacy benefits are not left adrift again. Our social security system is going to be more vital than ever in keeping our society steady through the storms ahead. 

Despite the Universal Credit uplift not being mentioned in the Spending Review on Wednesday (25 Nov 2020), we know that the uplift is on the agenda - with lots of coverage via the BBC and beyond! Unfortunately the Government has indicated that they have no intention of increasing legacy benefits, even if they decide to extend the £20 increase to Universal Credit in the New Year. 

The #KeepTheLifeline campaign is critical in making sure as many people as possible can stay afloat in the coming months. That's why it's already been backed by 50 organisations including the Disability Benefits Consortium, representing over 100 further organisations. Will you add your voice, too, and make sure we can extend a lifeline to those who need it in the months ahead? Click here to sign the Keep the Lifeline petition. To read more about why legacy benefit claimants desperately need the £20 uplift to keep afloat click here.

Dawn Stobart receives award at Women in Credit Awards 2020

calendar19 November 2020

Dawn Stobart receives award at Women in Credit Awards 2020

We want to take a moment to celebrate the legendary Dawn Stobart, who (even after a record number of entries this year) was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Women in Credit Awards 2020!

Dawn has recently retired after working at CAP for a whopping 17 years! Throughout her time as Director of External Affairs, she travelled all over the UK, standing up for the poorest and most vulnerable in society. She took it upon herself to educate people on the reality of poverty in the UK, and championed Government and industry change to make sure that people living in poverty could receive the support they need.

Dawn is passionate about championing and including everyone, and offers kindness wherever she goes. She really has given her all to make an incredible difference in people’s lives across the UK.

Thank you, Dawn. You leave a legacy that stretches way beyond your job role into the lives of everyone you’ve met and spoken up for. It’s wonderful to see you get the recognition you deserve.

Click the link to read more about the awards

CAP Scotland receive Government funds

calendar05 November 2020

CAP Scotland receive Government funds

CAP is recruiting more Scottish Debt Advisors and plans to open new Debt Centres across Scotland

Debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is welcoming a funding boost from the Scottish Government which will help reach people in debt who desperately need support.

CAP’s National Director in Scotland, Emma Jackson, believes this funding comes at a vital time – “The pandemic has already had a devastating impact on many people’s finances. With the possibility of more lockdown restrictions it’s so important those in debt can access our free support.”

“This funding boost from the Scottish Government will enable us to reach people who are being hit the hardest by the pandemic and to ensure those experiencing serious financial difficulty can get free, non-judgemental support.”

“We know so many people are suffering financially because of the impact the pandemic has had on jobs and employment. Many families are experiencing problem debt for the first time. We want people who are struggling to know CAP is here and ready to help them.”

“We’re proud to be playing our part in the response to COVID-19 and urge anyone struggling with debt problems to pick up the phone today”.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said –  “I am pleased the Scottish Government has been able to support Christians Against Poverty as part of an additional £2.4 million announced in August for debt advice support services across Scotland. Services like this are vital for people who are experiencing debt, offering them help and guidance to start to address their financial issues. It’s important that we all continue to look out for each other, particularly during this pandemic, and debt advice services are a key part of that.”

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