Oxford

Oxfordshire County Council wants debt help bank fees

Oxfordshire County Council is to write to MPs and the government calling on them to make banks pay an annual fee to help fund voluntary debt services.

A motion by Councillor Charles Mathew won unanimous support from all the authority's 74 members.

The council said money from banks could help the services survive without "constant concern over their funding".

A similar idea was proposed by the then Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy in 2004.

At the time, the British Bankers' Association said UK banks were already helping people in difficulty with debts and had contributed £5m to debt advice services.

Mr Mathew, from the Conservative-controlled Oxfordshire County Council, said: "In this time of financial uncertainty, with many people requiring more, rather than less help and advice, our voluntary services are becoming essential lifelines to those in need, but unfortunately, they too are struggling for funding.

"This council believes that funding could be raised to support these services through the private sector.

"Such funding would allow this sector to pursue its vital role without constant concern over its funding."

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