Latest news

Goodbye Matt, hello Paula!

calendar05 November 2019

Goodbye Matt, hello Paula!

Matt Barlow, CEO - UK and International, is set to leave CAP next year after more than 20 years of fighting poverty and debt in the UK.

He is moving on to become the leader of the church he attends with his family in Bradford.

Paula Stringer, who joined as Executive Director a year ago from a senior role at the BBC, has stepped into his shoes as UK CEO. 

Chair of Directors, Roger Hattam, said the Trustees were unanimous that Paula was perfectly placed to take CAP’s vision into the future.

Watch the video below to find out more.

CAP speaks up for change at political party conferences

calendar01 October 2019

CAP speaks up for change at political party conferences

Over the past couple of weeks CAP's External Affairs team has been at the Labour and Conservative party conferences. Between them, they’ve represented CAP at 24 meetings and events, connecting with others working to tackle UK poverty. Rachel Gregory, CAP’s Social Policy Manager said:

‘While it’s been an interesting and turbulent time politically, there are lots of vital issues that we cannot take our sights off. We’ve attended events about food poverty, financial inclusion, bailiff regulation, Universal Credit and loneliness to name a few. My favourite quote from this week came from Alison Garnham, CEO of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), who said, "Poverty is policy responsive, if we do the right things it goes down". That’s why, while the conferences are over for another year, we will continue to speak out to see the changes needed.’

More compassion for those on prepayment meters

calendar23 September 2019

More compassion for those on prepayment meters

A report from CAP outlining the difficulties faced by the poorest households looks set to change the way energy companies regard vulnerable families.

The Poor Pay More, written in 2014, raised the issue of self-disconnection for those on prepayment energy meters and CAP has been glad to work with Ofgem on this issue.

42% of CAP debt clients use prepayment meters for their energy so this is a cause close to our hearts.

Now the regulator is proposing a list of requirements for energy companies to protect those whose extreme circumstances mean they have run out of credit – and have no hot water, light or heating.

Proposals out for consultation include energy firms having to:

  • Offer support
  • Give emergency credit or discretionary credit and
  • Consider people’s ability to repay debt on prepayment meters.

Ofgem will be considering feedback on the proposals from charities and suppliers and will publish its final rules in the next couple of months.

PPI complaint deadline looms

calendar15 August 2019

PPI complaint deadline looms

The financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has set a deadline for Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) complaints: 29 August 2019.

Christians Against Poverty is supporting the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) campaign by helping to remind people about the deadline and by sharing important information with its audiences including how to check if you had PPI and how to make a complaint.

The FCA has also introduced a new basis on which to make a PPI complaint based on how much commission was paid to whoever sold the PPI policy.

CAP's CEO, Matt Barlow, said, 'Making a decision about whether to complain about PPI is an important one and we at CAP are here to provide our clients with any support they may need in order to make that decision.'

Emma Stranack, FCA’s PPI Deadline Campaign Lead, said: “Simply put, if you haven’t complained to your provider by 29 August 2019, you won’t be able to claim money back for PPI – so you should make your decision as soon as possible. Checking if you had PPI is simple and free. Don’t worry about paperwork, you only need your date of birth and relevant previous addresses.”

For more information on PPI and to find out what this means for you we recommend visiting the FCA website at fca.org.uk/ppi, or contacting their helpline on 0800 101 8800.

Breathing Space gets the go ahead!

calendar19 June 2019

Breathing Space gets the go ahead!

We’re celebrating at CAP today because after many years of campaigning alongside friends at other debt agencies, the Government has announced people in debt will be granted a grace period called ‘breathing space’.

It means that from 2021, when a debt adviser notifies creditors on behalf of a person in debt, the creditors must stop chasing for money for 60 days to give time for a debt solution to be agreed. No extra fees, interest or enforcement action can be applied in this time period.

We’re particularly pleased that central and local government debts like council tax and benefit overpayments will be included, something CAP specifically campaigned for.

Also, if someone is in mental health crisis, they can have extended 'breathing space' on the advice of their mental health professional to give them time for some recovery before taking steps to tackle their finances. This is something MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis has been pushing through the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute.

'This is great progress and is to be warmly welcomed. Now we’re really interested to know about the practical detail,' said CAP’s Director of External Affairs Dawn Stobart.

'Our experience shows that the most vulnerable clients will take time to find the courage to seek debt help, and it could be more than 60 days before they do so. If that happens, can another 60 days be triggered?

The extension for people with poor mental health is wonderful but it’s only for those receiving treatment through the NHS. The thing is, we know about three quarters of those we’re helping are suffering with their mental health with many not receiving treatment. What extra help is available for them?

So, while we are delighted to see this day, we are also full of questions and concern that the most in need don’t fall between the cracks. We look forward to meeting with all those concerned to dig into the detail so it works for everyone.'

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