Responding to today’s Queen’s Speech, Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said:
“Household debt is high by historical standards and consumer borrowing continues to head towards levels not seen since the economic crisis. Millions of households are resorting to credit as the only way to keep up with essential household bills. And millions more face the risk of falling into serious financial hardship in the future. Any further squeeze on household finances could have serious consequences. Dealing with problem debt needs to become a priority for the new Government.
“There is cross-party support for the introduction of a ‘Breathing Space’ scheme that would give individuals and families better protections and a safer way to get back onto a firmer financial footing. While we are disappointed that these proposals were not referenced in the Queen’s Speech, we remain hopeful that such a scheme will be implemented as soon as possible to help prevent those who need it the most from falling further into a downward spiral of increasing debt. We will continue to work with the Government to make the scheme a reality.”
Campbell Robb, chief executive of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), said:
“Almost a year ago Theresa May pledged to tackle the country’s injustices. But this threadbare Queen’s Speech is symbolic of the impasse in British politics, where these injustices will be left untouched and people’s prospects held back.
“Some action on energy costs and helping renters is encouraging, but on their own they fall far short of the bold domestic reforms we badly need to see. Millions of people face a daily struggle to make ends meet and no party has made a persuasive case that that this will change.
“We need a national mission to transform the prospects of our worst-off people and places. But instead we face a standstill generation in British politics and a wasted Parliament. Politicians of all parties now need to work together to take the country forward and address the issues that millions of people struggle with day-to-day.”