Select Committee on Treasury Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter from National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux

  Please find enclosed [not printed] our briefing on debt and financial exclusion, which we would like to submit to the Treasury Select Committee as part of their inquiry into Banking.

  Debt problems and other issues associated with money are among those raised most often by our clients. Last year, the Citizens Advice Bureaux nationally received 1.4 million such enquiries, a rise of 16 per cent from the previous year. The problem is compounded by the fact that many people in this situation find it almost impossible to access suitable banking facilities.

  Bank accounts are an essential modern amenity. The Government has set a target of the year 2003 for all benefits to be paid directly into bank accounts. Similarly, the vast majority of employers pay wages in this way.

  Given the possible closure of rural post offices following the payment of benefits by automated credit transfer into bank accounts from 2003 and the difficulties faced in setting up credit unions, there is still a long way to go in achieving the Government's aim of tackling social and financial exclusion. Although banks have now made steps towards providing suitable bank accounts, it is clear that more could be done to make basic bank accounts accessible to everyone, including those who have poor credit histories.

17 January 2001

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