One in four workers in the UK has financial worries. In this article, Elaine Jefferys, Money Services Manager at The Charity for Civil Servants, explains what the organisation is doing to help
I recently read a comment from someone we helped with financial assistance and debt advice. When asked: “What is the one thing that we did that made the most difference to your situation?” he wrote: “You totally relieved the stress of what I thought was an impossible financial problem.”
We hear and see feedback like this every day at The Charity for Civil Servants. The stories are varied but the circumstances which give rise to them are well known. Long term pay freezes, changes in the workplace, a general rise in the cost of living, cuts to benefits (including the recent benefit cap) and a lack of affordable housing are all having a huge impact on the people we help. Those who were “just getting by” before are now finding it harder just to cope with paying for the essentials. Managing a limited budget is now more challenging than ever.
A study published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in January 2017 reported that 1 in 4 workers had money worries. The study linked this with high levels of absenteeism, low productivity, stress and poor mental health amongst employees.
So with a quarter of the UK workforce suffering from some level of poor wellbeing because of financial worries, getting good advice and support as soon as possible is crucial.
It’s a fact that our Money Advice and Guidance Service is generally contacted by people at a crisis point in their lives, when they don’t know what to do next.
And it’s true that we’re talking to more and more people whose need is for effective budgeting and financial capability information as well as emergency help and debt advice.
That’s why we’ve been working with the Money Advice Service to develop resources and training to take directly into workplaces to address the urgent need for better money management. We’ve recently developed an online Budget Calculator to make it easier for people to identify financial difficulties, whether they need further help and where to get it. We’ve also recently launched a series of online factsheets to help people manage and get advice on priority debts.
And in 2017 our new training programme will include face-to-face and digital presentations and resources, designed to introduce financial capability and money management skills.
Reacting to need is vital and we hope that our new programme will provide those people with the right tools for better financial health as well as advice and support along their journey. That’s why we’re continuously refining and developing new ways of working – so that we can get more help to the people that need it most.