DEBT ADVICE: AS NEWS HITS THE HEADLINES ON THE RISING COST OF LIVING

27th July

As the cost-of-living spirals upwards, many families and individuals may find themselves looking for options to help manage their debt moving forwards.

Cost of Living Impact on Families

  • The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) report into the rising cost of living found that nearly a quarter (23%) of adults reported that it was already ‘very difficult’ or ‘difficult’ to pay their regular household bills compared to 12 months before. – Forbes Advisor 20/07/2022
  • Just over 447,500 people across Scotland are on Universal Credit – equivalent to more than one in ten working age adults in Scotland and almost double the number before the pandemic. – CAS July 2022
  • Between March and May 22, pay excluding bonuses was down 2.8% from a year earlier when adjusted for inflation - the fastest drop since records began. – BBC News 20/07/2022
  • Nearly half of adults surveyed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said they had bought less food in the past fortnight due to higher prices. – BBC News 24/06/2022
  • In a BBC-commissioned survey of more than 4,000 people, 82% said they thought their wages should increase to match the rising price of goods and services. – BBC News 24/06/2022

It is not yet known whether the stats above will result in more people requiring debt advice and require them to enter a formal procedure to support a repayment of their debts.

Providing Debt Advice

Dunedin Advisory director, Linda Grant, states “The number of people employed in and qualified to provide debt advice has been reducing since the onslaught of the pandemic. There are however many companies advertising their offer of support to those who need debt advice, and it can be confusing for individuals not knowing where to go to get the correct advice.”

Earlier this month, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a Portfolio letter for firms working in the debt space. This sets out the key risks that debt advice firms pose to their customers and an outline of the FCA expectations on debt advice firms.

The FCA estimate households face average inflation rates as high as 14% with 27% of the population having low financial resilience and expect this number will increase in the coming months.

Debt advice firms are expected to

  • have sufficient capacity to fulfil their debt advice offering to the increasing client numbers requiring support
  • to act with integrity and provide good quality advice in the best interests of and appropriate to the customer; with a full financial assessment undertaken
  • explain the reasons available options are suitable and why other options may be unsuitable

There are various fundamental disciplines that the FCA set out as mandatory functions required by debt advisors. All firms require to be fully compliant with FCA regulations and not be biased towards fee earning.

Where to get advice from FCA accredited advisors

FCA regulated firms will have an FCA registration number. You can find out the authorised services from the FCA register (register.fca.org.uk) which includes charities, institutions and SME firms.

At Dunedin Advisory our debt advisory and client money services are regulated by the FCA under registration FCA670700. We are also regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland in respect of our Chartered Accountancy and Insolvency Practitioner qualified staff.

Our team are highly experienced in providing confidential debt advice and understand how difficult and worrying financial pressures can be. There is no one solution fits all and we take time to discuss each individual circumstance with our clients providing a full summary of the discussions and our recommendations for individuals to consider.

We can meet individuals face-to-face at an agreed meeting place or via Teams/Zoom call, standard call via landline, mobile to mobile or via email communication.

Our contact details:

Email [email protected] or [email protected]

Telephone – 01592 630085 or 0333 240 0686

Websites: www.dunedinadvisory.com www.helpwithdebt.scotAll initial consultations are provided free of charge. Where a fee-paying service may be an option, we set out our terms of business and fees in advance of our clients making any decisions or commitment to engage our services.

Other FCA registered institutions offering debt advice include:

Step Change - stepchange.org

Advice Direct Scotland - advicedirect.scot

National Debtline - nationaldebtline.org

Citizen’s Advice Scotland - cas.org.uk

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