Debt help for UNISON members
We provide free, FCA-regulated debt advice and managed debt solutions to people in financial difficulty. We’re proud to work in close partnership with UNISON’s Welfare charity to make this free service available to all UNISON members.
Call our free helpline today on 0800 389 3302
How we can help you
We offer professional, impartial advice and support, 6 days a week. Our advisers can look at your income and expenditure, as well as your debt level, and work out a suitable solution to help get your finances back on track.
Our advisers are always at the other end of the phone and will be happy to listen carefully and answer any questions you may have, no matter what stage you are in your debt-free journey.
We are funded by the credit industry and are pleased to say that our advice is completely free. We also won’t charge up-front fees for any managed debt solutions.
What debt solutions can we offer?
If our advisers feel you would benefit from a managed debt solution, they will suggest the best one for you based on your circumstances. You may be eligible for several solutions, but you will be advised on the pros and cons of each, so you can make an informed decision.
Click on the links below to find out more about the most common solutions we offer.
An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a formal agreement between you and your creditors – the people you owe money to.
You make monthly repayments, based on what you can afford, to your creditors for a given time (typically around five years), and at the end of your IVA they will write off the remainder of your debt. If you have an unsecured debt of £7,000 or more, an IVA could be the right choice for you.
As an IVA is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors, interest and charges will be frozen so you won’t have to worry about the your debt level increasing. If your IVA was to fail however your creditors are free to pursue you for the remainder of your debt, and they could apply for your bankruptcy.
By entering into an IVA you will be added to the public Insolvency Register and your credit rating will be adversely affected – although if you have been struggling with your finances for a while chances are your credit score has already been impacted.
When you enter an IVA your assets, including your home, will be protected – although you may be required to release equity if possible.
An IVA can only be offered to English, Welsh and Northern Irish residents. Scottish residents should look at the alternative solution: trust deeds.
One of the most unsettling aspects of being in debt is dealing with the demands and threats from your creditors – the people you owe money to. By taking advantage of a Debt Management Plan (DMP) from PayPlan, we can help reduce the worry by dealing with your creditors on your behalf.
A DMP is an agreement between you and your creditors whereby you agree to repay your debt in reduced payments that are more affordable for you. A PayPlan DMP is completely free of charge so every penny you pay to us will go to your creditors. It could be the right solution for you if you have more than £7,000 in unsecured debts and are struggling to make the repayments.
A DMP is an informal debt solution so while we will request creditors freeze interest and charges during your plan this is not always guaranteed. This means your creditors could take further action to pursue you for your debts – this may include applying for your bankruptcy. Like all debt solutions, being in a DMP will also have an effect on your credit rating.
Running your own business can be hard work and you can do without the added struggle of managing debt. That’s why PayPlan has a debt management solution tailored especially for the self-employed. It’s called a Self-Employed Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA).
A self-employed IVA involves paying one affordable monthly payment to your creditors for a set period of time (usually five years) and at the end of that period, they will write off the rest of your debt. It helps you to avoid bankruptcy or liquidation and helps you to continue trading.
To qualify for a Self-Employed IVA, you must have a viable business with a debt of £10,000 or more. As a self-employed IVA is a formal solution, it allows you to manage your debt without worry or despair.
Starting on a Self-Employed IVA means you will be entered into a public register and your credit rating, and as a consequence your business, could be adversely affected. Failure to keep to your IVA agreement means you also risk it failing and your creditors could apply for your bankruptcy.
Similar to an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) that’s available to all other UK residents, a Trust Deed is an agreement between you and your creditors – the people you owe money to.
It works by you agreeing to repay monthly payments, based on what you can afford, over a given time – usually around four or five years. And upon successful completion, your creditors agree to WRITE OFF any outstanding debt at the end of your Trust Deed.
If you live in Scotland and have an unsecured debt of £5,000 or more, a Trust Deed could be the right solution for you. It’s the preferred solution for many people as it enables them to avoid Sequestration (bankruptcy), and all the unsettling consequences that come with it. By embarking on a Trust Deed, you will be entered into a public register and your credit rating could be adversely affected. If you’re a homeowner you may also be asked to release equity from your property. If this isn’t possible your trust deed could be extended by a further 12 months.
Simply put, bankruptcy can occur when an individual’s debts are greater than his or her assets. Declaring bankruptcy means an individual is financially insolvent and can be relieved of outstanding debts.
You will need to apply online for your bankruptcy and pay a fee with the application. Creditors can also apply for your bankruptcy on your behalf. Once a bankruptcy order has been made, the official receiver will give written notice of the order to a number of organisations; this will include the order being advertised in the London Gazette (an official publication containing legal notices).
There are certainly disadvantages to bankruptcy that you must be aware of. Once you are made bankrupt, you will no longer be in control of your assets. The only things you may keep are items or equipment needed for work or items needed for household purposes, i.e. bedding, furniture, clothing and other basic household necessities. However bankruptcy can be quicker than other debt solutions – you could be discharged within just a year, although if you can afford to make income payments you will be required to do so for 3 years.
If you’d like to discuss any of these solutions in more detail, one of our advisers will be happy to help.
Get free help today
For immediate and free debt advice please call 0800 389 3302 or use the Debt Help Form on this page to submit your debt problem online.
Please note that not all of these debt solutions may be right for you, so to have a full assessment please call us or complete the debt help form.