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Jonathan Reynolds MP marks the success of partnership between StepChange Debt Charity and British Gas

British Gas and StepChange Debt Charity have helped 4,000 people tackle their debt via an industry leading partnership.

MP Jonathan Reynolds meets the British Gas team in Hattersley and StepChange Debt Charity in the run-up to Debt Awareness Week.

MP Jonathan Reynolds has today visited British Gas in Hattersley to see how thousands of people have benefited from an industry leading partnership between StepChange Debt Charity and British Gas. British Gas set up the partnership 18 months ago to extend the help and support on offer to customers who were struggling with energy debt.

This new partnership has helped over 4,000 people to receive specialist support and advice. British Gas helps customers by offering manageable payment plans and can also make referrals to the British Gas Energy Trust, which makes grants to people in energy debt.

Brian Jackson, Regional Director of British Gas in the North West, said: “January can be a difficult time as the bills arrive after Christmas. Last year, British Gas spent more than £380 million helping 1.8 million vulnerable households with discounts, free insulation and benefits advice. We are very pleased to be working in partnership with StepChange Debt charity so we can help identify our customers who need help, and make sure they get tailored support with all their debt problems so they can get back on their feet.”

British Gas does more than any other energy supplier to help those who are struggling with their energy bills. We would urge any customer who is struggling to pay their bills to get in touch to see how we can help them and their individual circumstances.”

Jonathan Reynolds MP said: “It was a pleasure to visit Hattersley and find out more about the partnership. Many households are struggling with debts and it is encouraging to see British Gas and a national charity working together in such a pioneering way to help their customers.”

When customers have been referred to advisors at the charity they can provide free, confidential advice on a range of debt problems including rent arrears, credit card bills, overdrafts and payday loans, as well as energy arrears.

Richard Haymes from StepChange Debt Charity said: “We know that debt can have a damaging effect on people’s lives in the form of stress and anxiety and relationship breakdown. But we also know the difference that free and impartial debt advice can have on people’s lives. Helping people to get advice and support is crucial to improving the outcomes for those struggling with problem debt.”

The partnership with StepChange Debt Charity is just one of the initiatives British Gas supports to help vulnerable customers. It is also sole funder of the The British Gas Energy Trust - an independent charitable trust that offers advice and financial support for people who are struggling with their household bills.

The British Gas Energy Trust is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and over the last decade British Gas has provided it with more than £75 million to help 120,000 people with grants and debt advice from a network of debt advisors across the UK.

British Gas does more than any other energy supplier to help those who are struggling with their energy bills. The support British Gas provides includes:

  • Referral to our charity partners – including StepChange Debt Charity and Citizens Advice, who provide debt programmes and run benefit checks.
  • Referral to the British Gas Energy Trust to check for eligibility for a grant.
  • Reducing weekly debt payment arrangements to make the weekly spend more manageable.
  • Referral to the Warm Home Discount scheme.

Establishing whether the customer is eligible for free insulation or a boiler replacement through the Energy Company Obligation/ Affordable Warmth.

Monitoring prepayment meter customer accounts with robust processes in place to ensure that action is taken when vulnerable customers or those in debt appear to have self-disconnected.

Debt Awareness Week, spearheaded by StepChange Debt Charity, is taking place between 26 January and 2 February. More information can be found at: www.stepchange.org/debtawareness

British Gas is the UK's leading energy supplier, and serves around 11 million homes in Britain –nearly half the country's homes – as well as providing energy to around half a million UK businesses. British Gas provides value for money, dedicated customer service, innovative energy solutions and the highest quality Home Services expertise in the country. Find out more at www.britishgas.co.uk.


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