A leading national debt advice charity has called for more financial education and the curbing of high cost credit providers.
Consumer debt in the UK currently stands at £1.61 trillion, £928.44 per adult more than this time last year and households are facing a growing mountain of debt, which can quickly become unmanageable, leaving people feeling trapped and powerless.
And this week more financial burden will hit families as Monday 21st January, known as Blue Monday, marks the day when post-Christmas credit card bills land on the doormat.
For some households these extra bills can cause debt and money problems at a time of year when financial pressures are often at their greatest.
Community Money Advice, a national charity committed to supporting churches and community groups who have a passion to help people overcome their money problems, is calling for more financial education and the curbing of high cost credit providers.
Heather Keates, Chief Executive of Community Money Advice, said: “Some people find themselves in debt because they spend without thinking, others struggle with household bills due to insecure employment or low income. Unexpected life events such as a job loss or relationship breakdown can leave people feeling overwhelmed and crushed. Every day Community Money Advice centres see people hiding from debt collectors and even going without food or new clothes so that their children have what they need. More financial education is needed for adults as well as children and high cost credit providers need to be curbed. For people trapped in debt, face-to-face advice and support is a lifeline. It is possible to find freedom from debt and hope for the future.”
Community Money Advice supports a network of 153 debt advice centres, which give free, confidential, face-face advice and support. The charity works with churches, community groups and statutory organisations whose 1,200 trained advisors support individuals and families struggling with problem debt. Last year the charity helped over 19,000 people manage £154 Million of debt, 6.7 per cent more than the previous year.
Single mum Anna was studying at college and juggling studies with work to pay the bills. Anna used catalogues and credit cards to get by until her circumstances changed when her father died.
“I felt really low and ignored my debts and bills,” she said. “Eventually my debts got sold on to a debt collection company who began knocking on my door regularly. It’s been really important to receive long-term support…since gaining a Debt Relief Order I have been helped to budget and apply for discounts I’m entitled to. Overall I’m a much happier person…if you’re in trouble, you might have to push past your boundaries to get the help you need.”
Community Money Advice is asking anyone experiencing money problems to seek free professional help from a local debt advice charity.
For more information, help and support, see: www.communitymoneyadvice.com
Picture: British pound coins and notes. (Dominic Lipinski/PA).