The Money Advice Service (MAS) has announced it will increase funding in 2015/2016 by £4 million from last year to deliver free debt advice to over 116,000 more people across England and Wales. The funding will provide for 336,000 free debt advice sessions and “will contribute to enabling people to overcome debt quickly, helping them to stay out of difficulties in the future by providing ongoing support with money management”, said Caroline Siarkiewicz, the head of UK Debt Advice Programme for MAS.
The advice is delivered through MAS’ five lead partners: Citizens Advice, East Midlands Money Advice, Capitalise, Money Advice West and Greater Merseyside Money Advice. The increase in free debt advice is made possible by expanding the delivery of services, focusing on providing phone and web-based support whilst maintaining access to face-to-face services. The uptake of the services is still relatively low at 17%, however a survey suggests that 88% of people receiving advice funded by MAS acted on the advice received and 76% succeeded in reducing their debt within six months.
MAS is an independent organisation set up by the government to enhance the understanding and knowledge of consumers about managing their finances, which is paid for by a statutory levy on the financial services industry raised through the FCA.