THE Archbishop of Canterbury has welcomed a “significant and encouraging” report that provides evidence of the success of Christians Against Poverty (CAP) in tackling debt.
The charity surveyed 214 people who had received debt counselling from its teams over a five-year period, and found that 46 per cent of them now had savings, and 85 per cent reported that they felt “in control” of their finances.
Three-quarters said that, since working with CAP, and becoming debt-free, they had not used credit at all, and 93 per cent felt that they now had a positive relationship with their bank. The average income of respondents was £14,511.
The Archbishop, who is a patron of the charity, said: “It is easy to imagine that someone living with poor finances will always be in that state, that poverty is too big a problem for us to tackle.
“This report is significant and encouraging because it shows that if someone gets the right level of support, they can conquer their debt problems. It tells us that no matter how hopeless a situation can first look, significant change and transformation is possible.”
The Freedom Report lists a wide variety of issues faced by clients before seeking help from the counselling service: 36 per cent had considered suicide because of the pressures of their debt, while 87 per cent had no savings to fall back on in a crisis.
Two-thirds had sacrificed meals in an attempt to make ends meet before getting help from CAP.
Kylie, a mother of four who was interviewed for the survey, said that before getting help she was struggling to make ends meet. She said: “I didn’t understand how to budget and often overspent. Doorstep lenders lured me in. . .[Now] I have learned how to properly budget and structure my spending. . . It’s amazing how little changes can make such a difference to your whole life.”