An Update on the Archbishop’s Task Group – to promote responsible credit and savings
Extracts from a talk by Sir Hector Sants
I am delighted to provide an update on the work of the Archbishop’s Task Group that I am privileged to chair. To remind you, its origins were the Archbishop’s comments about high cost credit providers. The Task Group’s purpose is, however, a wider one, namely: “To promote responsible credit and savings”. It also has a subsidiary objective of reinforcing the Church’s place at the centre of local communities.
I believe this is a mission of the utmost importance. It is clear that financial distress is one of the principal causes of social detriment. Furthermore, Archbishop Justin has emphasised that helping alleviate financial distress should be central to the Church’s mission. This call, to make helping people manage their money a key part to the Church’s mission, reflects the belief that how we handle money – as individuals and communities – is central to living full and contented lives: ‘Life in all its fullness’
A few statistics to remind us why:
- In 2013 an estimated 1.6 million people took out high cost shortterm credit with a total value of £2.5bn.
- An estimated 7 million people rely on high cost credit providers.
- 1.4 million people have no bank account.
These statistics are in themselves justification for action, but for me, even more moving is encountering the impact of financial distress at the personal level.
Over the last few months I have met many individuals who are in financial distress and this has brought home to me the extent of the personal suffering that results. Christians Against Poverty, the well-known debt advice charity, has shared with me the following statistics about their debt advice clients:
- 36% have contemplated or attempted suicide.
- 67% visited their GP due to the negative effects of debt…