According to research conducted by Money Advice Service (MAS) and CACI back in March of this year, 8.3 million UK families are living in debt. While it wasn’t reported exactly what type of debts so many people are struggling with, at Can’t Pay My Fine, we know that past-due fines are certainly a big part of the problem.
It’s sad to hear that, more and more, debts are becoming overwhelming and procedures for debt collection more intense and invasive. In May, it was reported that 20-year old Jerome Rogers tragically killed himself after two £65 fines escalated to £1000 and bailiffs clamped the bike that he used for work as a courier and waited outside of his home for nearly three hours.
The homeless are also being targeted as The Guardian reported that at least 51 people who have been convicted since 2014 after failing to pay fines of up to £1,100 for begging and loitering.
This certainly paints a grim picture not only of how fines – whether a result of speeding, TV licensing, unpaid child maintenance or court convictions – can dramatically affect a person’s well-being, but also how they can be targeted at disadvantaged groups.
The problem is so evident that, after Mental Health Awareness Week, the Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Halton urged anyone worried or stressed about their finances to get in touch for support.
While not all cases are this extreme, racking up debt does take its toll as it becomes more difficult to pay monthly bills and bailiffs can threaten your possessions, home and even freedom. During such stressful times, many people don’t know where to turn. More and more, debt and other crisis charities are helping support Brit’s on their road to financial stability and mental recovery.
So, how can they help? While of course this depends on the individual charity, its mission and its resources, the goal is always to get you back on your feet, whether that be financially or emotionally. Most will offer support groups, helplines, individual advocacy and legal advice in order to give you practical solutions to move forward.
There are hundreds of charities throughout the UK, especially in London. While this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, we do hope it helps if you or anyone you know is struggling with lingering debts.
To find out more information about each charity and to find out how they might be able to help you with your current financial situation, click through the links above.
Please also be aware that Can’t Pay My Fine can assess your case to find out if you’re entitled to free legal aid, with no prior costs involved.