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Debts: Ethnic Groups

Question for Treasury

UIN HL8555, tabled on 28 September 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the research by the Institute for Public Policy Research Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups at greater risk of problem debt since COVID-19, published on 24 September.

Answered on

13 October 2020

The Institute for Public Policy Research’s recent publication notes that income shocks, such as redundancy, can cause problem debt and that ethnic minority groups may be particularly exposed to such shocks.

The Government has taken unprecedented steps to help those whose finances have been affected by COVID-19, regardless of their ethnicity. But the Government recognises that it will unfortunately not be possible to protect every job.

The Government’s Plan for Jobs provides £1.2 billion to significantly expand and enhance work search support. The Government has also launched the new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme, creating hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people.

The Government is also committed to helping people in problem debt access the support they need to get their finances back on track. That’s why an extra £37.8 million support package is being made available to debt advice providers this financial year, which brings this year’s annual budget for free debt advice in England to over £100 million.

In addition, from 4 May 2021 the Breathing Space scheme will offer people in problem debt a pause of up to 60 days on most enforcement action, interest, fees and charges, and encourage them to seek professional debt advice.

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