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Do you have a story to tell about increasing household debt as a result of Covid 19?

The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) – the Methodist Church, United Reformed Church, Church of Scotland and Baptist Union working together on issues of peace and justice – are in the early stages of building a campaign around household debt.  Increasing debt across society has become one of the most oppressive challenges of the Covid 19 pandemic. With increasing unemployment and rising costs, Covid 19 has led to many families racking up large debts through no fault of their own.

It has been the families already in the least financially resilient position and the least likely to have savings that have been most acutely affected – particularly young people in lower paid jobs and families with children. It has been widely recognised that the health and economic effects of Covid 19 have fallen most heavily on the least well off. These debts will magnify and perpetuate this unequal impact over the next years and even decades.

This is why we are looking at developing a campaign to call on the government to ‘reset’ Covid related household debt. Ideally, the call would be for the government to buy up the debt owed by households which was caused by Covid-19, essentially ‘resetting’ debt to before the pandemic and freeing families from the burden of debt as the enter the next stage of economic recovery. This would include Council Tax arrears, rent arrears, utility bill arrears and loans from DWP, and could potentially be extended to mortgage arrears, credit card bills, and personal loans. You can read more about this here.

But we are also hoping such a campaign would increase the likelihood that debt forgiveness is seen as part of recovery by policymakers. We hope that it might highlight the disproportionate impact of Covid 19 on the poorest households, and raise the issue of problem debt – pushing government and civil society to seek solutions.

We are particularly interested in gathering stories of experience from those who have been facing this challenge. We want to ensure that those with lived experience of these issues are at the heart of any campaign. DO YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL OF INCREASING DEBT AS A RESULT OF COVID 19?

Please email Hannah Brown – brownh@methodistchurch.org.uk to share your story.



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