To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed (a) increase in digital and (b) reduction in community face-to-face debt advice provision under the Money and Pension Services proposed recommissioning model on the adequacy of the levels of face-to-face provision of debt advice for people who (i) are digitally excluded and (ii) have difficulty accessing advice over the telephone as a result of (A) complex mental health issues, (B) disability and (C) language barriers; and if he will make a statement.
15 November 2021
The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) assesses debt advice demand and makes decisions about advice provision. MaPS’s statutory responsibilities include the need to consider the most vulnerable in its decision-making.
Information on the bids received as part of MaPS’ procurement process is commercially sensitive while that process is still ongoing, with it being set to conclude early in 2022. However, the procurement exercise is expected to materially increase the amount of debt advice available to people in England, and ensure services – including face-to-face provision – are built around customers’ needs. The exercise is an important step towards a more resilient debt advice sector and will drive better quality of advice and customer outcomes over the longer term.