We must make sure everyone can play a part in our society after the pandemic. We must ensure everyone can help to rebuild the economy and ensure everyone has access to the resources they need. Yet six million people in the UK have been swept into debt as a result of Covid-19, with the biggest increase in debt among the poorest households.
It is imperative to reduce the burden of debt that has been inflicted on people who are now struggling to make ends meet as a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis. Our Reset The Debt proposals would do that, providing vital support for millions of people like Leonie and Andrzej. They have been receiving advice from a money advice centre connected to the church and agreed to share their stories with their first name.
Leonie had been doing shift work through an agency for several years, but her work ended when lockdown began. She has no recourse to public funds and is now behind on her rent, water bills and council tax. Every day, she receives letters asking for repayment.
Andrzej was working as an Uber driver, but that work suddenly dried up in lockdown too, and his debts became unmanageable. He approached a church-based advice centre after he ended up sleeping on the streets.
People like Leonie and Andrzej have been hardest hit by the economic tsunami cause by the pandemic. People already on the lowest incomes have seen their incomes fall the furthest. At the same time, costs have risen due to having children at home during lockdown and having to pay more for basic groceries and services, when prices rose and supplies ran low.