New interactive map tackles embarrassment around debt advice in Sleaford

Money matters
Money matters

Embarrassment is a key factor preventing people in financial difficulty asking for help, research has revealed.

Being unaware of the help available also contributes to delays in seeking advice. So TV Licensing has today (Thursday) announced the launch of a new interactive online map, to help combat the problem and make it easier for people to find organisations in Sleaford offering financial advice. The map provides locations and details of over 480 partners which can provide support on TV Licensing issues and can be viewed at www.tvlicenceadvice.co.uk

According to the National Debtline, nearly six in ten (59%) of their clients wait over six months before asking for help, while more than four in ten people (44%) wait for a year or more before getting in touch. In 2017, five percent (5.4%) of callers to the National Debtline, run by the Money Advice Trust, had TV licence debt.

TV Licensing works with more than 400 charities and money advice organisations to give the best advice and information to people who approach them for assistance on staying licenced. A licence costs £150.50 for the year, but there are payment plans which make it possible to pay in smaller, more manageable chunks.

Martyn Neal, senior adviser at Meadows Advice Group, said: “Ms A was a single parent with two children and working part-time. She was coping until her employer changed her hours and she fell into debt. She almost lost her home due to rent arrears.

“We negotiated with the landlord and stopped repossession. We helped her with a new housing benefit claim which she was awarded and backdated to clear most of the arrears.

“She also had a large (over £1,000) debt to her energy supplier. We visited her home, took meter readings and submitted an application to the company’s trust fund. The application was successful and she is currently on a payment plan which will clear her debt.

“She had other general debts for loans and other credit, and we negotiated with the creditors and persuaded them to accept nominal payments until her situation at work improves again.

“Anyone can fall into debt through no fault; just unavoidable circumstances such as health problems, relationship breakdown or, as in Ms A’s case loss of job or reduction in hours. The earlier advice is sought, the easier it is to work out a solution which is manageable for the person and acceptable to the creditors.”

Mark Binnersley, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said: “Our new online map at www.tvlicenceadvice.co.uk gives details of local money advice partners who are there to listen and help with money advice. There are a number of ways to pay for a TV Licence including weekly cash payments from as little as £6 a week, and we are always happy to

offer advice to help people find the payment method best suited to them.

“We are also running a new payment plan trial. More information about eligibility for the Simple Payment Plan is available on our website at https://spp.tvlicensing.co.uk or through money advice organisations.

“A licence is needed to watch or record live TV, on any device including a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, and to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.”