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Research and reports

The Money Advice Trust is committed to a programme of research which enhances understanding of the debt and credit environment and practically improves money advice.

Latest research and reports

We work with a range of leading researchers from highly respected academic institutions across the UK. The Trust’s research has a strong reputation for breaking new ground whilst complimenting existing work. Our research strategy is managed by our Insight team, which is challenged with enhancing our services for the public and for advisers through research and analysis. Find out more about the Trust’s most recent research here.

Council tax after Covid

While Covid-19 has undoubtedly meant many households struggling to pay their council tax, arrears levels were already on the rise long before the outbreak. This report explores the problems that persist within the current systems of council tax collection and local Council Tax Support schemes, as arrears levels reach a record breaking £4.4 billion in England alone. Findings are based on new nationwide research conducted by YouGov and the experiences of callers to our advisers at National Debtline and Business Debtline, to provide insight into some of the key issues faced by people struggling to pay their council tax and the urgent reforms needed to help bring arrears levels down and to ensure people who do fall behind are treated fairly.

Published July 2021

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Cost of Covid

When the Covid-19 outbreak first began, few could have imagined the impact it would have on all our lives. The upheaval of the last twelve months has caused unprecedented damage to our economy and impacted the finances of many households, for better and for worse. Some are in a healthier financial position now than before the pandemic. However, despite government support packages, many people have fallen behind – having lost their job, income or livelihood. At National Debtline and Business Debtline, we see the real-life experiences behind the headlines. Our Cost of Covid report, based on the findings of a poll of more than 2,000 British adults and insight from our own debt advice services, provides insight into the impact the outbreak has had on households experiencing increasing financial difficulty due to the pandemic. You can also read our Covid Rent Arrears joint briefing, with StepChange and others from the debt advice and housing sector, here.

Published March 2021

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Back to business

Our Back to business report looks at the impact of Covid-19 on self-employed people, and outlines recommendations to the Government, regulators and creditors to help them recover from the outbreak. Our research shows that four in ten self-employed people surveyed expect it to take longer than a year for their income to recover and one in ten do not expect it to at all. This research reveals the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on self-employed people and their businesses, and the long road to recovery that lies ahead for many.

Published December 2020

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How people in debt are coping with the impact of Covid-19

Our How people in debt are coping with the impact of Covid-19 briefing shares stories from callers to National Debtline and Business Debtline on how they are dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak. This qualitative report sheds some light on some of the human situations we are hearing about behind the statistics on the financial effects of the outbreak we hear about.

Published December 2020

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Levelling up: The case for reforming government debt collection

Our Levelling up report was published as the Cabinet Office considered responses to a call for evidence on improving fairness in government debt collection, offering insight in the way that central and local government collects debts including council tax, benefit and tax credit overpayments. The findings come at a time when more people are struggling to repay debts owed to central and local government - a trend that is likely to be amplified by Covid-19.

Published November 2020

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Debt options in the new normal

Our Debt options in the new normal briefing explores some of the possible changes that could be made to the existing debt options landscape in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak to ensure that people struggling with problem debt are able to access robust and effective debt options that support their path to recovery.

Published October 2020

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At the business end

While the financial effects of Covid-19 have been severe for millions of households and across a broad range of the UK population, small business owners and the self-employed are among the groups most vulnerable to the outbreak’s impact. Our At the business end briefing offers insight into the experiences of self-employed people and other small business owners who were already either in or recovering from financial difficulty going into the outbreak – as well as a snapshot of what we have been hearing at Business Debtline so far.

Published August 2020

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At the sharp end

For people who were already struggling or dealing with problem debt, the financial repercussions of the Covid-19 outbreak are of particular concern. Our At the sharp end briefing​ offers insight into the experiences of people at this ‘sharp end’ – people who were already either in or recovering from financial difficulty going into the Covid-19 crisis – as well as a snapshot of what we have been hearing at National Debtline service over the first three months of the outbreak.

Published June 2020

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Closing the gaps

Our Closing the gaps briefing, released in April 2020 shortly after the start of the Covid-19 UK lockdown period, set out emerging insights into the impact of the virus on callers to National Debtline and Business Debtline and the steps needed to close the gaps in the Government's response.

Published April 2020

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Business as usual

Our Business as usual report highlights the impact of late payments on small businesses. Late payments affects nearly half (45%) of Business Debtline callers, and our advisers can often spend as much time advising callers on how to chase these debts owed to them, as they do on dealing with their own business and personal debts. In the context of growing self employment and small business ownership, the need to tackle the problem of late payments is urgent. In this briefing we have laid out six recommendations for government, creditors and others on how this can be achieved.​

Published February 2020

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Latest consultation responses

The Trust regularly submits responses to consultations and calls for evidence from regulators, government departments and select committees. Find all of our latest responses here.

Research and reports contact details

Claire King

Contact our Insight Manager Claire King for our latest client numbers, research and report information.