Bill Esterson and Cllr Veronica Bennett hear about work of Chris

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson and Blundellsands Ward Labour Councillor Veronica Bennett with Christians Against Poverty’s Lynda Cooper.

Labour MP for Sefton Central Bill Esterson and Blundellsndsands Ward Labour Councillor Veronica Bennett heard about the work of Christians Against Poverty at the MP's surgery in Maghull. 

Bill met former Deyes High pupil Lynda Cooper, 49, who runs the Christians Against Poverty (CAP) service in North Liverpool and South Sefton.

CAP employs 200 people at its head office in Bradford and gives advice on debt management. They visit people who ask for help and go through the details of debts that people owe and then discuss possible arrangements for repayment with creditors. 

For some people CAP arrange Debt Relief Orders and this enables most people to find a way of clearing debts. In some cases bankruptcy is considered.

Bill said he was impressed by the way that CAP is giving debt counselling advice to people in need in his constituency.
Bill said: “More and more people are telling me that they face financial difficulties and it is extremely important that there is someone to help. I was very pleased that Lynda asked to come to my surgery to tell me about her work and I am very impressed by what I heard. 

"The experience of the CAP with the support of their head office means that people with money difficulties have someone to turn to. The CAP speak directly to the banks and other creditors and take away some of the stress of managing debts that often just can’t be paid without some kind of arrangement. 

"Lynda clearly cares very much and I want to thank her and her colleagues for what they do for people who face serious money worries at what is a very difficult time for many people.
"Lynda also told me about a typical situation for a family who need a Debt Relief Order. Often people will take out a payday loan which could be for as little as £100. Because they can’t or don’t make the full repayment, within a few months, that loan is worth £800 or more. So another aspect of the CAP’s work is debt counselling. 

"I was very impressed that Lynda and her colleagues try to help prevent families getting back into debt by helping them to budget or to cook so that their food bills come down. And they also help with practice skills some of which are missing and are at the root of the problem."

Lynda told Bill that she has seen a sharp increase in the number of people needing help in the past two years.
Bill said: "Lynda told me that in the last two years she has seen a significant increase in the number of people coming to her for help. That increase is as a result of a change in the type of person coming for help. Previously it was mostly people who perhaps had always struggled with money. 

"Now Lynda sees more people who have never had financial difficulties before. People who have lost a job or had a business go under and are now unable to find work to replace a lost income and as a result they are have debt problems. 

"This is the result of the dire economic situation, a situation that is becoming worse all the time for people most need help. It was people who were relatively well off until recently who are asking for help now, something that would have been laughable until recently.“

Lynda also said it is now no longer just the poorest who are turning to CAP for support.
Lynda added: “It used to be the poorest, most vulnerable people who asked for help. Now there is a new group who never needed help before. This includes homeowners who cannot pay the mortgage.”


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