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Vulnerable and elderly struggle to take back control of finances after curbs

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Two thirds of people who needed help from others to manage their money during the first lockdown have not taken back control of their own finances.

New research commissioned by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), together with Safeguarding Ireland, warns of the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

It is particularly worrying for elderly and vulnerable people who may now be relying heavily on others to access their money.

Some 11pc of adults needed help to manage or access their finances during the first Covid lockdown period, but just 33pc of those have taken back control. Alarmingly, one in 20 said they had experienced financial abuse during the lockdown and 13pc were concerned about someone taking advantage of them financially.

Safeguarding Ireland chairperson Patricia Rickard-Clarke stressed the importance of all adults keeping control of their bank accounts and being vigilant about relying on others.

“Unfortunately, it is estimated internationally that in excess of 10pc of people are dishonest in how they manage a vulnerable person’s money.

“Covid-19 raises additional challenges for the independence of vulnerable people, but the advice remains as much as possible to keep charge of your own money. Any arrangements put in place during lockdown should be reversed, as it is safe to do so.”

BPFI Head of Sustainable Banking Louise O’Mahony said: “It is reassuring to note that the Covid-19 lockdown led to just 11pc of adults requiring help from others to manage their finances.

“Less reassuring is the finding that many of those who took such action during the lockdown have not yet taken back control of their finances.

“People should, of course, get the help of trusted people if necessary as a short-term measure.”

Irish Independent

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