Debt charity has clients 'too destitute for a Debt Relief Order'

By agency reporter
October 8, 2017

Some of the poorest families in the UK are facing a life sentence of debt because they cannot afford even the cheapest form of insolvency, a charity has revealed.

At just £90, a Debt Relief Order (DRO) was designed to enable those on the lowest incomes to be able to wipe clean the slate of insurmountable arrears.

But charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) says it has 500 people on its books for whom it would take 618 years on average to each pay off what they owe. To combat the issue, CAP has set up its own bursary fund that has so far this year contributed to half of all the DROs being processed.

Chief Executive Matt Barlow said, “These are some of the very poorest people in the UK, people who are working well with us, sticking to the budget, determined to get straight and doing everything right to get their affairs in order.

“However, the reality is, £90 stands between them and debt freedom and they can’t afford it. Much as they would like to pay off their debt, they wouldn’t be able to even if they lived to be 600!"

People can only access a DRO if they have debts totalling less than £20,000, have less than £50 a month spare income after the essentials of living and assets of less than £1,000.

One such CAP client was Jason who fell into debt when struggling with depression and addiction. He was taking out credit to pay off loans, fell behind with his rent and he ended up in a homeless hostel. Jason said, “I felt totally out of control and lost. I was trying to pay things back but left myself so short it was unmanageable, just paying off interest and not making any headway.

“From the very first meeting with Jackie (debt coach), I felt it could be handled and that CAP could sort things that I couldn’t.

“I didn’t have to deal with any of the bills – they negotiated everything for me. I felt a great burden lifted. Freedom comes at a cost with a debt relief order and I wouldn’t have been able to experience that sense of peace without help in covering the fees.

“Going debt free was the start of a new life. It meant I could focus on going to rehab and getting a job. I got a job in a coffee shop which was the first time I’d worked in 15 years. At CAP, everybody cares, you’re not just a statistic.”

CAP is now launching a fundraising campaign to give 500 more people the chance to go debt free in time for Christmas. 

* Christians Against Poverty


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