Consumer overindebtedness: a review of the quality of money advice services in Scotland
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Brennan, C. & Gallagher, K. (2007) Consumer overindebtedness: a review of the quality of money advice services in Scotland, International Journal of Consumer Studies, vol. 31, , pp. 623-629,
Levels of consumer borrowing and debt in the UK and globally continue to rise. Credit makes a vital contribution to the success of the UK economy by driving economic activity and allowing consumers flexibility in how they choose to access the marketplace and manage their finances. Although most consumers manage their borrowing effectively, for a minority, the ease of access to credit results in overindebtedness. As a consequence, the need for money advice is prevalent. In the UK in recent years, services have been developed to assist consumers in financial difficulty. In Scotland, additional funding has been made available to enable further service developments in local government or voluntary sector provision. This paper reviews the literature on consumer overindebtedness, the development of money advice services and discusses the quality of these services in Scotland. It is likely to be of interest in other countries where consumer overindebtedness is rising and where money advice services are being developed to assist those experiencing problems. The review found that the rising levels of overindebtedness justify the case for developing money advice services but that there are many quality issues which require to be managed. Implications for the money advice profession were identified together with suggestions for the development of services in other countries.