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Benefits & Bills..

Comment 13th July 2010

I would like to see utility providers and the TV licence accept and recognise, by law, standing orders as legitimate payment methods.

I work with people on benefits who struggle to pay their bills. This is not only down to the fact that they have low incomes but also because they may have mental health or substance misuse issues.  

The exisiting payment methods only work for those of us who are able to budget effectively. Direc debits are paid on the same date of each month whereas benefits are paid on the same day of each month or week. What this means is that direct debit is not an effective way to pay although for the majority it is the easiest way to pay.

There are payment cards which do work for many but i have seen lots of people fall behind with payment cards. There is a tendency to juggle payments and for one or all of the balls get dropped.

Standing orders can be set up to be paid on the same day every month or week or fortnight. This could coincide with the payment of benefit.

Providers dont like standing orders because they are not in control of them and cannot raise the amount when required. There is also an issue with provders receiving payments without ref numbers and then not knowing what account it is for. These are issues that i feel could be overcome with some organization.

So, in essence, I believe that everyone should have the right to pay their bills in any way that is convienient to them and not in whatever form is most convienient to the provider. Power to the people.

Make a Stand for Standing Orders!

Why does this matter?

 

My idea tackles financial poverty in a very real sense.

It enables many people to make payments who otherwise would not.

It means the providers would get more payments and would spend less on chasing debts.

It would mean that the DWP would not have so much work to do in their direct deductions department

Debt is a terrible strain for people and anything that eases debt will also ease the symptoms of stress. This could mean a reduction in drinking, drug taking, depression, anti-social behaviour and crime.

Im not saying that Standing Orders will save the world but it will give a socially excluded group the opportunity to be in control of their finances rather than being shut out which is what the current methods of payment do.

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