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"Lenders' & Debt collection letters' need to be changed" says Martin Lewis

Tuesday, 4th December 2018

There are calls for the government to update debt collection legislation after new research by Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) revealed the devasting effect bullying and threatening debt collection letters can have on those with mental health issues who have problem debt.

The research key findings;

  • Over 420,000 people in problem debt consider taking their own life in England each year
  • More than 100,000 people in debt actually attempt suicide each year
  • People in problem debt are three times more likely to have considered suicide than people who do are not in problem debt.

Exactly what is problem debt?

MMHPI say for the purpose of the research problem debt is defined as falling seriously behind on payments for bills or credit agreements, or having been disconnected by a utilities provider in the past year.

New campaign

Money and Mental Health launched (3 December 2018), a new campaign – Stop the Debt Threats – aimed at bringing an end to the use of intimidating and inaccessible language and content in lenders’ and debt collectors’ letters.

Martin Lewis, Founder and Chair of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute said: “The fact a law set decades ago doesn’t just allow companies to use intimidating language when collecting debt, but near forces them to do so, causes tragedy.

The last thing those struggling with debts need is a bunch of near thuggish letters dropping through the letterbox, in a language you can’t understand, threatening you with court action. And with such a tight link between mental health and debt crisis, we know many of the people receiving these letters are extremely vulnerable.

Thankfully attitudes to mental health have come a long way in the last forty years, and it’s time the legislation followed it. These letters are destroying lives, but it doesn’t have to be like this.
We’re calling on the government to change the out-of-date legislation dictating the content of these letters. In particular, new rules are needed to make the language easier to understand, and to prominently sign post people to help not hassle. That will save lives.”

You can see the full MMHPI report here (external website) 

How can I sign the petition and give my support?

To sign the petition and find out more click here Money and Mental Health’s ‘Stop the Debt Threats’ campaign' (external website)

Debt & Mental Health Form / Guide

If you have mental health issues and debts then you may wish to consider using the Debt & Mental Health Evidence Form.

The form is designed to make the people you owe money to aware of your situation, in severe cases it is not unusual for creditors to suspend court action and payments.

How to access the form and background information plus how to complete the form can be found here (DebtWizard link)

 

 

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