This report from the Legal Services Research Centre provides clear evidence of the positive impact debt advice can have. It also confirms that debt problems can have a major impact on people’s lives, bringing about ill-health, relationship breakdown, loss of employment, as well as distressing impacts on parents’ relationships with their children.It is estimated that 3.7 million people have serious financial problems.
The results of a random control trial showed that people offered advice were significantly more likely to view their situation as improved after three months. There was also evidence that advice improves people’s understanding of their personal finances and helps them to better target the most important debts, such as mortgage and rent arrears and court fines.
The LSRC has calculated that the average cost per debt problem to the public is more than 1000 pounds, with more serious problems involving costs of many times this amount. These costs can be set against the cost of advice, estimated at around 25 pounds in the case of National Debtline.
The report is available at: www.lsrc.org.uk/publications.htm