Don’t scrap debt fund

WENTWORTH and Dearne MP John Healey has urged the Government not to scrap funding for a service that helps hundreds of local people deal with debt.

The Government is yet to indicate if support for the Financial Inclusion Fund (FIF) will continue after it runs out at the end of March.

The FIF pays for debt advice services provided by the Citizens Advice Bureau and Mr Healey has now written to Ed Davey MP at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Economic Secretary Justine Greening asking that it stays in place.

The Labour politician said: “As part of the national funding Barnsley and Rotherham CAB employ eight full-time debt caseworkers, a debt housing specialist and two full-time administrators and handle around 2,000 cases a year.

“Nationally in 2010 the CAB helped 1.4 million people – up from 580,000 the previous year.

“Demand for these services in Barnsley and Rotherham is at record levels and shows no signs of abating.”

He added: “I was in the Treasury when we committed to the funding so at a national level, and from my experience as local MP, I know what a good investment it is and what a difference it makes to many people.

“This funding helps people who have nowhere else to turn and no other way of being able to start to get on top of their debts.”

He is urging ministers to meet local CAB chiefs to discuss the issue.