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Policy and Government

At CAP we don’t want to just treat the symptoms of poverty; we also want to address the causes. That’s why we’re working tirelessly behind the scenes to shape and influence the policies that affect our clients. It means we get to speak on behalf of the vulnerable to the people with the power to change their lives. And our voice is growing louder.

Industry professionals seek our opinion on current issues, and our recommendations get heard in Parliament. Change is happening. Below are some of the ways in which we are fighting for justice amongst the country’s key decision-makers.

The poor pay more: prepayment meters and self-disconnection

calendar08 December 2015

12 months on from our initial report we have produced a short update. Please find more information below.

10.8 million people live in households that pay for their energy by prepayment meter (PPM). CAP’s latest research highlights the hardship they face and the widespread self-disconnection taking place. As the number of PPM installations continues to rise, it is imperative that more is done to protect these consumers

That’s why CAP is making the following recommendations:

  • The poor should not pay more
  • Monitor and require action on self-disconnection
  • Raise awareness about standing charges
  • Prioritise PPM users in smart meter roll out

That’s why CAP is making the following recommendations:

Read the full report here

Two fifths of CAP clients pay for their energy by PPM. These clients pay more for their energy because they are unable to access the same tariffs at Direct Debit customers. The poor pay more research shows that PPM users include more vulnerable consumers, who are less likely to be able to contend with the additional challenges that come with paying for energy by PPM.

Surveying 1,600 people working with CAP to resolve their financial difficulty, The poor pay more finds nearly six in ten PPM users limited their energy use to some extent over winter. Half of this group did so severely, using their heating for less than two hours a day a week per month, less than four hours a few days per month or not using their heating at all. This is not a small problem; we estimate that in the UK there are 266,000 households in arrears on their PPM who are limiting their energy use, with 43,000 going without any heating over winter.

Alongside self-disconnection, PPM users are also turning to other coping strategies. The stark reality is that PPM users are also turning to sources of high-cost credit twice as often as non-PPM users and 36% of them have considered suicide as a way out of their debt problems. Prepayment meter users are forced to make impossible choices as a greater proportion fall behind with their rent or mortgage, council tax and other household bills.

As well as the numbers, The poor pay more features real-life client stories such as Kev’s, sat at home in his dressing gown and bobble hat, Mandy’s children being bullied at school because they didn’t have enough hot water for a bath and even a CAP client whose toilet had frozen.

Read the full report here
Info graphic for client stats

Winner of Debt Advice Provider of the Year

calendar19 November 2015

We are delighted to announce that CAP has won Debt Advice Provider of the Year at the 2015 Credit Today Collections & Customer Service Awards. This is the first year that this award has been given out and we are honoured to be the first time winners. CAP was also a finalist for Vulnerable Customer Support Initiative.

Improving efficiency of council tax collection

calendar18 November 2015

The Department for Communities and Local Government is proposing to extend the sharing of council taxpayers’ employer information by HMRC to all council taxpayers following a liability order. We are concerned that this will push some in financial difficulty into severe hardship and have responded to their consultation paper to highlight our concerns.  Read our response below:

Read the full document here

Northern Ireland Debt Relief Scheme

calendar12 November 2015

Following the changes to the Debt Relief Order (DRO) eligibility criteria in England and Wales from October 2015, Northern Ireland is now proposing to make the same changes. The proposed amounts are a debt limit of £15,000 and asset limit of £1,000. We responded in support of the amendments, but also advocating for a higher debt limit of £30,000 to help more of those who are Too poor to go bankrupt. Read our response below and CAP’s Too poor to go bankrupt report here.

Read the full document here

Smarter communications discussion paper

calendar24 October 2015

As part of their commitment to promote empowering and effective consumer communications, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released a discussion paper on smarter communications. At CAP we work hard to ensure a high standard of communication with clients, and also have experience of the type of communication our clients receive from creditors. We provided the following response to the FCA, highlighting examples of CAP's communication, as well as areas for improvement in the industry and regulations. Read our response below and the FCA’s discussion paper here.

Read the full document here
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Other and previous reports:

Never just a number The case for fairshare Setting the pace Offline and shut out The poor pay more Client report 2016 Client report 2015 Client report 2014 Client report 2013

Introducing CAP's External Affairs team

Meet the team representing CAP and building relationships in the credit and debt advice industries, as well as the third sector and with the Government:

Dawn Stobart
Director of External Affairs

Rachel Gregory
Social Policy and Relationship Manager

Kiri Saunders
External Communications Manager

Jonathan Shaw
Creditor Relationship Manager

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