Consumer champ’s £500k to help poor avoid more debt

Martin Lewis has made millions while helping people save. Picture: PA

Martin Lewis has made millions while helping people save. Picture: PA

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MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis is to donate half a million pounds to enable food banks to roll out a pioneering programme enabling thousands of people to get free help with money and debts.

Mr Lewis will help the Trussell Trust, which runs a network of more than 420 food banks across the UK, roll out its “financial triage, debt and ­money advice” service to 30 new centres across the UK.

The plans were unveiled as site owners Moneysupermarket.com announced £20.6m bonuses, payable to Mr Lewis and other MoneySavingExpert employees. Of that, Mr Lewis is entitled to £19.2m.

The Trussell Trust ran eight pilot projects in early 2015, working with specialist debt charities, one of them in Dundee. The other were in Cardiff, Coventry, Durham, London, Stroud, Bangor and Newry.

The pilots loooked at how effective it would be to introduce a service in food banks where clients could get access to help with household budgeting, seeking alternatives to expensive payday lenders and breaking out of debt cycles.

Mr Lewis set up the MoneySavingExpert website in 2003 for £100. It was purchased by Moneysupermarket in 2012 and Mr Lewis took on the role of executive chairman in September. He said: “Over the last three years, MoneySavingExpert has continued to thrive and grow, cutting millions of people’s bills and fighting their corner. I am as excited as ever for the future of the site.

“On the back of receiving this payment, the charity Citizens Advice will receive another £1m. Also from my existing charity fund, both the Trussell Trust and the Personal Finance Education Group will get £500,000 to fund their important work in financial triage and ­education.”

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