Dealing with debt

If your debts are mounting up and you are not sure what to do or if you are finding yourself falling into debt for the first time, do not ignore the situation; help is available.

If you are facing an immediate financial crisis because you are unable to afford everyday essentials, pay your rent or utility bills, you could be entitled to a Local Welfare Assistance Payment

The local welfare team can offer a range of other support, such as checking you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to, helping you find employment or referring you to a foodbank. 

Personal budgeting support (LWA) - the local welfare assistance team can provide you with personalised advice on how to manage your budget so you can feel more in control of your finances. 

Learn Ealing, the council’s adult learning team also has free maths workshops and courses as part of a Multiply project such as moneysaving tips, manage your money and avoid debt, credit cards and interest rates and balancing income with expenditure.

Do an online benefits check - your first step should always be to make sure you are claiming everything you are entitled to. An online benefits check takes 10 minutes and could mean you get more money every month.

The council's cost of living webpages provide a wide range of support available, from free data sims for your mobile phone to discounts off your bills. Do not delay - check what help is available today.

Are you struggling to pay a council bill?

Do not ignore it, reach out to us. We can work with you to find a solution. Call the number on your bill or contact us on the Ealing Together Helpline: 020 8825 7170.

Opportunity to pause or write off debt

Breathing Space gives you a temporary, 60 day break from your creditors while you get debt advice and make a plan. The organisations below will be able apply for a breaking space - check to see if you are eligible for the scheme.  

Apply for a Debt Relief Order that can give you and your family a fresh start by writing off unmanageable debts of up to £30,000 after 12 months - since 6 April there is no longer a £90 fee. All the organisations below will be able to advise if a Debt Relief Order is an option for you. 

Debt advice organisations

There are a number of organisations that can support you to manage your debt. Their advice and services are free and can be tailored to your individual circumstances, so reach out to them and find out how they can help.

Nucleus is a local organisation, based at the Lido Centre, West Ealing offering advice on managing debt, welfare and benefits, housing and legal advice. 

Nearly 1 in 4 Ealing residents (24% according to the Money and Pensions Service) could benefit from debt advice. National Debtline provides free, impartial debt advice for people struggling with problem debt, you can also telephone them on the freephone line 0808 808 4000 (Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday 9.30am to 1pm.

Crosslight Advice is available in multiple locations across the borough to people in receipt of Foodbank vouchers. Crosslight Advice provides face-to-face debt advice together with money education and budgeting support to individuals and families in need.

Step Change  is a national charity available online 24/7. 

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a national charity that offers local face to face support to people, regardless of background or belief. Alongside debt advice, they also offer job clubs for those seeking employment, life skills groups helping people with practical skills and additional help where needed.

Ealing Advice Service is a partnership of charities offering advice on welfare benefit entitlements, council tax, benefit overpayments, rent arrears and other areas where debts have not yet reached enforcement stage.

Money Helper is a government run organisation providing free debt and money management advice both online and over the telephone.

Debt Free Advice offers lots of free and useful resources for you to use to address your debts alongside personalised expert advice.

Budget management tools

Money helper offer a wide range of tools and calculators to help you manage your finances depending on your situation. Here are a few key ones which are useful:

  • budget planner -  a free budget calculator will help you to know exactly how much money you have coming in, and where it is being spent. Learn how to manage a budget – keep track of where every pound is being spent
  • loan calculator – find out how much a loan will cost you or how quickly you can pay off existing loans
  • bill prioritiser – if you are not sure which bills you should pay first, this tool will help you prioritise and will also tell you what to do before you miss a payment
  • need help with your water bill?  Lots of people are entitled to a 50% reduction in their water bill if they are on benefits or have a low income. Contact Thames Water about their Water Help scheme or Affinity about their Low Income Fixed Tariff (LIFT)
  • the Money Course provided by Crosslight Advice gives practical money skills for navigating everyday life that may be particularly useful at a time when it is difficult to make ends meet -these free courses run once per term at different locations across the borough, or residents are welcome to join an online version of the course if preferred
    • there's a self-led option if you would prefer to work through the materials at your own pace
    • Crosslight also run a Cost of Living Toolkit with information on ways to reduce household bills and take advantage of available schemes and support for anyone wanting to get savvy with their money

Debt and Mental Health

Mental Health and Money Advice is a charity that can provide clear, practical advice and support for people experiencing issues with mental health and money.

The Samaritans, Mind, and Papyrus are also groups that can provide mental health support.

Beware of loan sharks

If you are in debt to a loan shark or illegal money lender there is free help available. Contact Stop Loan Sharks immediately. 

Enforcement agents

If your debt has been passed to an enforcement agent, you will need to contact them directly using the information provided on any letters you have received. All enforcement agents used by the council have policies in place for vulnerable residents and work closely with debt advice agencies.