|| Citizens Advice Bureau reports sharp rise in debt problems
National charity Citizens Advice says a survey of bureaux has revealed they were approached for help with 15% more debt problems in January 2007 than in January 2006.
The Citizens Advice service is a network of independent charities that helps people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers.
The increase in fuel debt problems reflects recent rises in prices and people’s difficulty in keeping up payments. People also brought more debt problems relating to council tax arrears, telephone debts and water supply and sewerage costs.
“Our bureaux are reporting a continuing increase in the number of debt problems people need help with," said Teresa Perchard, Director of Policy for Citizens Advice. "The combination of people experiencing increases in fuel bills, and rising housing costs puts additional pressure on people’s finances which were already stretched to the limit.“
In the financial year 2005/2006 Citizens Advice Bureaux dealt with 1.4 million new problems relating to debt. Indications show that debt problem numbers dealt with in 2006/2007 will exceed that figure, overtaking benefits as the largest area of problems that bureaux deal with.
Debts relating to credit, store and charge cards still remain high, with the survey bureaux reporting more than 19,000 new consumer credit debt problems in January.
“If people have debt problems they must seek help straight away. We cannot stress enough the importance of telling your creditors as soon as you have difficulties in paying – they should treat you sympathetically.
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