New interactive map tackles embarrassment around debt advice

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Embarrassment is a key factor preventing people in financial difficulty asking for help, research has revealed. Being unaware of the help available also contributes to delays in seeking advice.

So TV Licensing has announced the launch of a new interactive online map, to help combat the problem and make it easier for people to find organisations in Northern Ireland offering financial advice. The map provides locations and details of over 480 partners which can provide support on TV Licensing issues and can be viewed at www.tvlicenceadvice.co.uk

According to the National Debtline1, nearly six in ten (59%) of their clients wait over sox months before asking for help, while more than four in ten people (44%) wait for a year or more before getting in touch. In 2017, five percent (5.4%) of callers to the National Debtline, run by the Money Advice Trust, had TV licence debt.

TV Licensing works with more than 400 charities and money advice organisations to give the best advice and information to people who approach them for assistance on staying licenced. A licence costs £150.50 for the year, but there are payment plans which make it possible to pay in smaller, more manageable chunks.

Sinéad Campbell, Head of Money, Debt & Quality at Advice NI, said: “We often find that people who come forward to discuss their debts are embarrassed and ashamed, with many hiding the truth from family members and close friends.

“Our message is simple. Anyone struggling financially should reach out immediately and seek free, confidential advice from organisations like Advice NI who have experienced representatives to help. Our advice is independent and impartial and we are here to help.”

Karen Grimason, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said: “Our new online map at www.tvlicenceadvice.co.uk gives details of local money advice partners who are there to listen and help with money advice. There are a number of ways to pay for a TV Licence including weekly cash payments from as little as £6 a week, and we are always happy to offer advice to help people find the payment method best suited to them,

“We are also running a new payment plan trial. More information about eligibility for the Simple Payment Plan is available on our website at https://spp.tvlicensing.co.uk or through money advice organisations.”

A licence is needed to watch or record live TV, on any device including a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, and to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.