The Financial Inclusion Fund’s (FIF) free national debt advice service is set to close after the government axed its £25m-a-year funding. Last month, the financial secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban, confirmed that funding for the free face-to-face advice service, which has operated since 2005, will end in March. The project helps around 100,000 people every year to manage their debts. Its closure will mean the redundancy of 500 debt advisers, at a time when the demand for debt advice is predicted to soar. Tobias Stapf, FIF project manager in London, said: ‘Last year the FIF debt advice service was found by the National Audit Office to provide “value for money” because it is saving significant amounts for the government, the courts [and other bodies]. ‘Time and time again it has been shown that timely and expert intervention in debt problems can prevent debts spiralling out of control and help people get their lives back on track.’ A Treasury spokeswoman said government had already announced a free and impartial national financial advice service.