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Debt Talk: The welfare state, deficit budget and debt (podcast)

On this month's Debt Talk podcast, Ripon Ray explored: 'The welfare state, deficit budget & debt'. Trussell Trust, a network of food banks in the UK, gave out nearly 3 million emergency food parcels to people facing financial hardship, and it has noticed a 37% rise in accessing its service compared to the previous year.

The question for this month's panellists is: have we moved away from support provided by the state and diverted to the third sector? To assist Debt Talk, panellists for this month were the following:

Helen Barnard - policy director of Trussell Trust, explained the welfare state's history and purpose and how the UK has significantly shifted away from its initial cause. Food banks are now playing the state's role because the current welfare system is not providing sufficient support to meet the needs of vulnerable and low-income households. The trust is seeing people with disability and working people seeking help because the current social security system does not provide sufficient benefits considering the cost of living in the UK.

Rachel Gregory, senior external affairs manager of the charity Christian Against Poverty, outlined clients with unsustainable budgets are now seeking debt advice from the charity. She emphasised that debts owned to public bodies, such as local councils and the central government, are systematic. Many clients have had suicidal thoughts due to financial pressure and the inability to sustain living under the current benefits system.

Amy Taylor - a debt adviser and chair of the Greater Manchester Money Advice Group - explained that the role of a debt adviser changed due to funding cuts and heavy audits. As a result of which, experienced debt advisers have left the sector. Yet, she sees the role of an adviser as essential to supporting clients in financial hardship. Debt advisers can listen, understand and support clients with their options when they are in financial trouble and have that difficult conversation.

Apart from providing Top Tips to Debt Talk listeners in ways to deal with their debt during such a difficult time, they explored the significance of the Universal Basic Income piloted in England.

Next month on Debt Talk, Ripon Ray will explore: 'Artificial intelligence & the debt sector'.


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