Letter from National Association of Citizens
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
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