By Liam Purcell, Communications Manager, Church Action on Poverty
An estimated six million people in the UK have fallen behind on one or more household bill as a result of Covid-19, with the biggest increases in debt amongst the poorest households.
People who were previously able to keep their head above water are now in severe difficulty. Others, who had been just staying afloat, now face being overwhelmed by circumstances entirely beyond their control.
“I don’t answer the door, or answer the phone if I don’t know who it is. I know I can’t pay the rent, I am scared it might be him asking for it. What can I say? I have no money, I can’t earn money now and I can’t get benefits… If the debt was taken away, I would cry. I wouldn’t be scared or worried all the time. I would be able to study and hopefully get a career job, and not always be counting and thinking about money.”
This is an urgent problem that demands a solution. It is not right that those with the fewest resources should bear the heaviest burden of the lockdown, potentially for years to come.
Now is the time for a solution to be found. People swept into debt by Covid-19 now need a Jubilee. It’s time to #ResetTheDebt.
We’re proposing that the Chancellor creates a Jubilee Fund. This would provide grants to pay off and cancel unavoidable debt accrued by households during the lockdown period, giving them a more stable platform from which to face the future.
You can help call for action. Please visit https://resetthedebt.uk to read our report, and then email your MP, calling on them to ask the Chancellor what the Government’s plans are to address the crisis.
Reset The Debt is a campaign launched by the Baptist Union, the Church of Scotland, Church Action on Poverty, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church. The campaign grew out of our listening and learning to communities during the lockdown of 2020, as part of our Gleanings project. We heard that debt was becoming an increasing problem for households and communities across the UK