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Business: Government Assistance

Volume 493: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assistance his Department provides to individuals in financial difficulty; what recent representations he has received on this issue; and if he will make a statement. (276870)

The Department provides a broad package of support to individuals in financial difficulties.

Since 2006, we have run the Face-to-Face Debt Advice Project, employing around 500 advisers in England and Wales, which has now helped over 220,000 people. We are responsible for the Government's drive to tackle illegal money lending, operating a network of enforcement teams nationwide, in which we have invested £16.5 million. We have invested an extra £10 million in the Citizens Advice network to increase their opening hours to help consumers access general advice services in the recession; and we now provide £3.5 million each year to the freephone National Debtline phone service (increased from £1 million last year to deal with extra demand in the recession).

The Department receives frequent representations from stakeholders on our assistance programmes.