Published: 8th May 2013

As household’s struggle with rising levels of debt, should local government step in to help? Clare Cummings reports on a scheme in Holland in which state support for debt management is paying off. Researchers in Utrecht have been exploring the financial benefits of providing public services for debt management. Unlike the UK where public funding for advice services is being dramatically cut, local governments in the Netherlands provide a range of debt support services and initiatives for citizens. Since July 2012, local councils in the Netherlands have been legally responsible for debt counselling. This means that the council acts as an intermediary between the debtor and the creditor and tries to arrange an amicable debt settlement. The local councils also support the indebted individual through services such as budget coaching and ensuring stable housing. In extreme cases where the settlement fails, the debtor can appeal for a statutory debt settlement. … (To read the full article, subscribe below)