The Money Advice Trust, has recently published spotlight briefings on the impact of Covid-19 on its National Debtline and Business Debtline clients. These briefings provide insight into the experiences of people and small business owners who were already in or recovering from financial difficulty going into the Covid-19 crisis. The briefings also offer snapshots of what the charity has been hearing at its National Debtline and Business Debtline services over the first three months of the outbreak.
Key findings in the ‘At the sharp end: a spotlight briefing on the impact of Covid-19 on National Debtline clients’ include:
- As may be expected, an increasing number of people who contact National Debtline are citing Covid-19 as the main reason for their financial difficulty.
- There has been a change in the nature of calls received – more people are getting in touch about single issues and with queries on dealing with immediate challenges.
- Fewer calls are driven by creditor action as a result of temporary relief measures that have been introduced.
- After a fall in demand in the first two months of the crisis, demand for advice is rising again. A significant increase in demand is expected as temporary support measures are withdrawn, collections activity resumes and unemployment rises.
The full National Debtline report is available here.
Key findings in the ‘At the business end: a spotlight briefing on the impact of Covid-19 on Business Debtline clients’ include:
- The outbreak has had a particularly acute impact on callers to Business Debtline. More than half of small business owners contacting the service cite Covid-19 as the main reason for their financial difficulty (compared to 13% of callers to National Debtline).
- After a fall in demand in the initial weeks of the outbreak – though this was less pronounced than at the National Debtline service, demand for debt advice is increasing. Similarly to National Debtline, a significant increase in demand is expected as the full economic impact of the outbreak unfolds.
- A third of Business Debtline callers surveyed experienced a compete drop in business income as a result of Covid-19, which highlights the significant impact the outbreak has had on people in self-employment. One in five (20%) had ceased trading due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
- Many Business Debtline callers still trading were uncertain about their future – 4 in 10 (38%) surveyed were unsure if they would still be trading in six months’ time.
The full Business Debtline report is available here.