Wednesday 21 April 2021

Utrecht plans to speed up – and help clear – problem debt repayments


Utrecht is taking action to help people with problematic debts more quickly, which may involve paying off part of the debt using city council cash.

The plan includes shortening the length of time people have to wait for help with their debts. Currently it takes 11 months for a person’s financial situation to be properly assessed and then three years to pay off the debts. Utrecht wants to cut this to two months and two years.

‘At the moment it takes years before people have cleared their debts,’ city employment chief Linda Voortman told Radio 1 news. ‘And that only leads to stress. We want to help people more quickly, so we are acting to reduce the length of time it all takes. We want to give them perspective.’

When someone asks the council for help with their debts, officials work out a repayment schedule with the companies which are owed money and they are repaid over three years. This usually involves accepting less money than the debt.

In the new system, the city plans to take over the remaining debt after two years – if it is below €1,000 in total, and repay the companies itself.  The city expects the cost of paying off the remaining debt to between €100,000 and €125,000 per year.

The cabinet said in November that it planned to take steps to speed up help for people with problematic debts.

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