28 Apr 2020 | Posted In Bob's Blog (MALG updates)

Dear MALG members and contacts,

With so much going on at the moment, we are now updating our contacts more regularly on how MALG is supporting members through the Coronavirus crisis to ensure that we can all continue ‘working together to improve the lives of people in debt’.

We now have more than 60 people registered for our ‘virtual’ National Members Meeting on Thursday, which promises to be a great opportunity to learn and share best practice at this challenging time. See the agenda below and email info@malg.org.uk if you didn’t receive the invite and want to attend. (Please note the meeting is open to national members only. A number of guest places have been given to regional only members due to the current circumstances but these are now filled.)

  • 10.30: Meeting open; welcome from Bob Winnington, CEO, MALG
  • 10.45: Session 1 – Looking after our Colleagues: Rethink Health: The 5 Pillars of Optimal Health for Enhanced Energy, Productivity & Longevity in Business and Life – Angela Foster, My DNA Edge Limited
  • 11.30: Break
  • 11.45: Session 2 – Looking after our Customers – Panel Session hosted by John Fairhurst, PayPlan.
    Panel: Bob Kingdon (Intrum), Jane Tully (Money Advice Trust) and Joe Surtees (Cabinet Office)
  • 12.30: Close
Coronavirus support: MALG Members Friday Forum follow up

Following last week’s MALG Members Friday Forum, which was attended by 62 of you, we have published details of how advisers can get hold of credit reports for their clients during the crisis, which supplements the ever-evolving list of creditor email address for advisers that we previously published and are constantly updating. We have had specific requests for adviser email addresses for Lloyds, Tesco credit card, Natwest and Very store card. If you have any of these, please email them to info@malg.org.uk.

Although we are not publishing minutes from the sessions, many participants have asked for a summary of what was discussed during what was our most interactive Friday Forum yet. The key points raised were as follows:

  • Debt Relief Orders (DRO) was a big talking point, particularly around the £90 charge and whether/how this can be waived. Some Local Authorities and Social Housing providers are covering it and there may be help from Benevolent Associations. Paul Bowden of Wilkin Chapman is happy to help/advise on this paul.bowden@wilkinchapman.co.uk. Removing bankruptcy fees or make a DRO more like bankruptcy without the need for an intermediary.
  • It was suggested that we are heading for the biggest economic crash since World War II and that the longer term implications on household finances shouldn’t be underestimated. A report from Essex University predicts that 6.5million are/will be unemployed as a result.
  • The fragility of those on low incomes was highlighted and the fact that those struggling most at the moment are in ‘survival mode’ and don’t have the ‘head space’ to seek proper support is a concern in terms of future capacity and impact.
  • Local Authorities in general was a big talking point with many calling for a Council Tax reduction of up to 100% and calling for consistency around how collections are handled and support is given. It was pointed out that Councils do have pots of money available to help in several different ways – one adviser got funding for a new mobile phone for a client who couldn’t hear them on their existing one.
  • A possible much-needed increase in Local Housing Allowance (LHA) was discussed. Shelter has called for a 50% increase as has Money Advice Trust in its ‘Closing the gaps’ report. Following the session, we were asked to share the Government’s HCLG Committee inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on homelessness and the private rented sector. Submissions from anyone with answers to the questions in its ‘call for evidence’ are welcomed until Friday 1 May 2020.
  • It was confirmed that the FCA is rolling out its proposed measures to support motor finance and high-cost credit customers – read more here.

We’re also working hard to bring you all latest Coronavirus-related debt and money advice sector news – keep an eye on the latest section of our website and our Twitter/LinkedIn feeds. Please send any other creditor email addresses, latest news or questions for the Friday Forum to info@malg.org.uk. We look forward to seeing even more of you this Friday at 10am – find details of how to join here.

MALG Regional Meetings update

Details of upcoming regional MALG meetings, including updates on whether they are postponed or cancelled, are available on our website at www.malg.org.uk/events.

If you aren’t currently being invited to regional meetings and think you should be/want to be, please contact the relevant regional secretary:

Latest news: See all the latest money advice sector Coronavirus updates on our website www.malg.org.uk.latest