London - living in Cash 22?

03 November 2014

This meeting took place on 4 November 2014. Read the transcript here.

London is the UK’s most over-indebted region[1] but is enough being done to address the problem? The London Assembly Economy Committee will assess the effectiveness of debt advice services in London and if the Mayor of London can do more to support Londoners in resolving their financial problems. Almost one in five London households say household debt is a heavy burden and almost 14% were in arrears.[2] The three biggest reported reasons for debt are unemployment, reduced income and a lack of budgeting.[3] Problem debt not only affects the unemployed, but also those in full time jobs. In 2013 over a quarter of the people contacting debt charity StepChange were employed full time, which suggests that falling real wages may be leading to debt problems. The London Assembly Economy Committee will tomorrow examine the scale of problem debt in London and identify groups of people disproportionately affected. The following guests will be questioned:

Caroline Siarkiewicz, Head of UK Debt Advice Programme, The Money Advice Service

Ally Paget, Researcher, Demos

John Gathergood, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham

Robbie de Santos, Senior Public Policy Advocate, StepChange

Dr Pippa Lane, Senior Policy Researcher, Citizens Advice Bureau

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, 4 November from 10:00am in Committee Room 5 at City Hall (The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA). Media and members of the public are invited to attend. The meeting can also be viewed via webcast. Notes for editors:

National Institute for Economic and Social Research, Over-indebtedness in Great Britain, October 2010

Statistics provided by StepChange; Debt in London: 2009-mid 2014, October 2014

StepChange is a debt charity that provides free, independent and impartial advice to people who have debt problems.

Agenda papers can be viewed online

Jenny Jones AM, Chair of the Economy Committee is available for interview – see contact details below.

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and balance on the Mayor.

For more details, please contact Lisa Lam in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 4067. For out of hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, on 020 7983 4100.