On 21 February 2019, the British Medical Association (BMA) announced that GPs in England will stop charging people to complete the Debt and Mental Health Evidence form – the paperwork that people with mental health and debt problems can be asked to provide to creditors in order to receive additional support. A two year ‘Stop the Charge’ campaign by the Money and Health Policy Institute charity found that for some, the charge prevents them from seeking help to resolve their debts, while others go without essentials such as food or heating in order to pay it
After three years at the helm, Roger Darlington is stepping down as ESAN Chairman. On behalf of all our members and subscribers, the Trustees would like to thank Roger for his leadership and hard work. We are now seeking a new Chairman to take ESAN forward for the next three years.
We are looking for someone with a solid understanding of consumer issues, especially around vulnerable consumers; with experience of the regulatory and legislative frameworks that govern the provision of essential services. You can find more details of the role here: ESAN Chairman JD Dec 2018. If you would like an informal discussion please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
ESAN’s annual report and accounts for 2017-18 are now available ESAN Annual Report and Accounts 2017-18.
ESAN Member, Toynbee Hall has returned to its original East End home after three years of renovation work. The new building hosts a new, free and permanent exhibition. The exhibition showcases Toynbee Hall’s contribution to some of the most defining moments in London’s social history over the last 134 years: from the role of co-founder Henrietta Barnett and former residents William Beveridge and Clement Attlee, up to the involvement of the Bengali Community and local innovators whose ideas still shape its work today. It also pays tribute to the work of Charles Booth and his ‘Inquiry into Life and Labour in London’, with a mural depicting one of the maps.
Toynbee Hall will kindly be hosting the ESAN AGM and members’ meeting on Tuesday, 16 October.
The Government has published a Green Paper setting out three principles for responding to the challenges and opportunities of modern consumer markets. Competition has a central role to play, working with regulation in the consumer interest. Consumers should be able to enjoy the benefits of modern technologies and business models, but with effective protections and redress if things go wrong.
The consultation closes on 4 July 2018.
The Government’s Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Act became law on 19 July 2018. Following consultation, Ofgem set the initial cap at £1,137 per annum for a typical default tariff, dual fuel single rate customer, paying by direct debit and using a ‘typical amount’ of energy annually. The level of the cap has to be updated each April and October to reflect the latest estimated costs of supplying electricity and gas, including wholesale energy costs.
As from April 2019, the cap will rise by £117 per annum to take account of rising wholesale costs. Ofgem analysis found that despite the increase,
default tariff customers could be paying around £75 to £100 a year more on average for their energy had the default tariff cap not been introduced.
Doorway to Debt, a new research publication from Citizens Advice, shows that extending the same rules that cover payday loans to the doorstep lending market could prevent their customers getting into problem debt, and save up to £123 million in interest payments on up to 540,000 loans each year.
StepChange Debt Charity’s latest statistics reveal that demand for debt advice is at its highest ever, with many clients struggling to pay bills for essential services, especially younger and vulnerable consumers.
The report of the ESAN Conference 2018 with conference slides and videos of the presentations where available have now been published. Thank you to everyone who attended and special thanks for the BT team who hosted the event. Please continue to share your thoughts of what would really help consumers of essential services on #ESANdebate.
The Banking Standards Board (BSB) has published its annual review. The review includes the results of the BSB’s largest ever survey of behaviour, competence and culture in UK banking that together can determine trustworthiness.