Issues of Personal Finance Report Launched by Joan Burton
Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D., launched Issues of Personal Finance within the Traveller Community on July 4th 2012.
The report, by National Traveller MABS, examines the findings of local network meetings conducted nationally, which brought Traveller organisations, local MABS, Citizen’s information services, social workers and various other service providers together to discuss financial issues prevalent within the Traveller community.
The report highlights five key areas of concern for Travellers:
- Income inadequacy –managing on social welfare in a climate where allowances are decreasing while the cost of living is increasing
- Access to financial services– accessing and using financial services such as the Credit Union and banks. *the majority of Travellers do not own a property, which means they do not have access to the cheapest form of credit, i.e. loans secured on the family home (Census 2011).
- Illegal debt –the dependency that many Travellers have on illegal moneylenders
- Accommodation and utility costs –managing utility bills, increasing fuel costs and the variations between the cost of living in a standard house compared to a trailer.
- Cost of life events – funeral costs, weddings
Speaking at the launch the Minister said:
Information is power. Armed with the findings of this research, it will be possible to make progress on the areas of concern to the Traveller community. As a first step, I would urge more members of the Traveller community to use the countrywide free, independent and confidential Money Advice & Budgeting Service (MABS) when struggling with debt problems or difficulties accessing financial services and supports. Equally, I would urge MABS to work towards reaching more Travellers with their valuable advice and assistance.
The report also draws attention to various ways in which local support services can work together to increase the awareness of MABS in local communities. Proposals made during the meetings relate to:
- Promoting access to MABS and relevant services
- Promoting financial capability amongst Travellers and
- Promoting financial inclusion initiatives for Travellers
Paul O’Sullivan, Chairperson of National Traveller MABS stated:
This Report demonstrates the benefits that come from working across agencies to provide a service to the people whom we are here to serve.
National Traveller MABS helps local MABS offices serve clients who are very marginalised.
By working closely with other services such as health workers etc, NTMABS helps to ensure that individuals know where to seek assistance.