Half of parishes offer debt advice

05 December 2014

iSTOCK

ONE in two parishes now offers help to people struggling with debts, a new survey from the Church Urban Fund (CUF) suggests.

Some 48 per cent of clergy questioned in an online poll in October said that their church was providing either programmes to get parishioners out of debt, or in-formal advice. In 2011, the figure was 41 per cent.

Twenty-two per cent of churches now run debt advice or budgeting courses, and a similar number support their local credit union, either by encouraging parishioners to join, opening a church account, or allowing a branch to use church premises.

Seventy-nine per cent of clergy questioned said that helping people to manage their money wisely was an "important part of the Church of England's mission".

The CUF also drew attention to warnings from the Government-run Money Advice Service that the total spending on Christmas this year will reach £26 billion - a £2-billion increase on last year's figure. The average British adult will spend £530 during the festive season, the Money Advice Service's survey of 3000 people suggested.

The executive chairman of CUF, Canon Paul Hackwood, said: "At Christmas, many families feel under enormous financial pressure to create the perfect Christmas. This short-term pressure often leads to long-term despair for the poorest in our society."

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