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Debt scheme changes aim to throw coronavirus cash burden lifeline

By Alan Beresford

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THOSE left struggling with debt due to the Covid pandemic have been thrown a lifeline.

CAP National Director for Scotland Emma Jackson. Picture: CAP
CAP National Director for Scotland Emma Jackson. Picture: CAP

New revisions to the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) in Scotland now mean that those burdened with unmanageable debt due to the pandemic can make minimum or token payments through the scheme.

This new ‘low and grow debt payment plan’, will provide a unique opportunity for many to take back control of personal finances, which may have been spiralling out of control and then increase repayments as circumstances improve.

DAS enables people to pay back debts in a manageable way. Under DAS a one regular payment is set up and then divided and sent to creditors. These new revisions reflect the hardship that many have faced financially due to both the pandemic and bring welcomed options to those experiencing problem debt.

The move has been welcomed by national debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP).

Emma Jackson, National Director of CAP Scotland said, “We’re delighted to see the government acting on the input sought from the debt advice sector and provide increased options for people in debt right now.

"We know that the economic impacts of the pandemic mean that people across Scotland are encountering debt for the first time, or have increased debts.

“At CAP, we always want to ensure the right people are accessing the right debt solutions. Early and free, professional debt advice remains key to this.

Right now, we know people may be feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of lockdown, juggling child – care, home schooling, caring for elderly relatives, reduced income and many are dealing with debts. We want to urge people to seek debt help now.”

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, also hailed the news of the scheme revisions.

“I am acutely aware of the impact that the pandemic and necessary restrictions are having on household finances," he contined.

"In this uncertain time, I would encourage anyone experiencing problems with debt to seek advice as soon as they can.

"DAS is an enormously valuable tool to help manage problem debt and the Scottish Government has worked closely with the advice sector and other stakeholders to introduce greater flexibility in the operation of the scheme to assist those impacted by the pandemic.”

The low and grow DAS scheme is just one of a number of options that families have for dealing with problem debt and seeking advice from a free debt help charity will ensure people get the expert advice they need to ensure that they find the solution that is right for them.

If you are struggling with debt and need help, please get in contact today 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org

CAP’s network of 22 debt centres remain open throughout Scotland during the current lockdown, with services operating via phone or video call.

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