Debt charity welcomes government commitment to improve fairness in debt collection

The Cabinet Office has today published a statement on the government’s commitment to improving fairness in debt collection practices across central and local government.

The statement, agreed by the government’s Fairness Group, made up of central and local government, the debt advice sector and the debt collection industry, outlines principles on how the group will continue to work together to improve how the government interacts with people in debt, particularly those in vulnerable circumstances.

Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline, said: “The government’s commitment to improve fairness in debt collection across central and local government is very welcome. Public sector debt collection practices should set the gold standard, but it has been widely recognised that there is a significant amount of work to do to realise this ambition.

“The public statement published by the Fairness Group today rightly recognises the need to balance the interests of the taxpayer with ensuring that debts are collected fairly from people in financial difficulty – and particularly those who are in vulnerable circumstances.

“The next step will be to translate this commitment into real action for the people our debt advisers help day in, day out.

“We look forward to working with our partners on the Fairness Group to develop evidence-based recommendations that will improve the way that the government interacts with people in problem debt.”