Melanie Bien, director of Private Finance, queries why the coalition would scale back its free debt advice service at the very moment more people may need it.
Events of the past week make one wonder whether we really are ‘all in this together’.
Firstly, there was an undignified scuffle before the football transfer window closed, with footballers moving clubs for up to £50m, earning as much as £175,000 a week in the process.
This was followed by further tales of largesse as bankers' bonus season got into full swing.
At the other end of the scale are the severe cutbacks to essential services that communities rely upon. Children's centres, day centres for the elderly and disabled, libraries, even Lollipop ladies, are all being axed in an effort to save money.
Debt advice is also being targeted as part of the cutbacks.
The Citizens Advice Bureau is to make 500 specialist debt advisers redundant. It will still offer some debt advice from March when the funding dries up, but on a much-reduced basis.
While I am sure strong arguments could be made for saving all of those areas at risk, free, impartial advice is particularly vital, especially for those who have already got themselves into financial difficulty.
Specialist debt advice is also crucial for those who are financially excluded, who can least afford to pay for such a service.
Worryingly, the number of people who fall into these categories is only going to increase as the effects of government cutbacks really start to be felt.
Testing economic conditions, the effect of reducing the public deficit, job cuts and rising inflation - pushing up the price of food, petrol and energy bills - are all having an impact on the average family.
Interest rates may be low, which is good news for those with mortgages, but rents are rising, as more people are priced off the housing ladder for longer and are forced to rent in the meantime. With more people struggling to cope and desperately in need of good, independent advice, we need more options, not less.
Not everyone can afford to pay for advice. Yet everyone needs it, from the most sophisticated investor to the average Joe Bloggs.
When interest rates rise, as they will at some point, good, independent advice will become even more important than it already is.
A homeowner faced with repossession simply may not understand the options available to them, seeing no solution but to bury their head in the sand.
However, the inevitable increase in repossessions would simply become an even greater expense to the government, which would need to house the rising number of homeless, than the cost of providing specialist debt advice in the first instance.
Advice is so important. We underestimate this at our peril.
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