2007 ‘starts with more debt problems’

There has been a 15 per cent rise in the number of people seeking debt advice in January 2007 compared to the same month last year, said Citizens Advice.

As well as the usual problems with credit cards and unsecured lending, the advisory group have noted a sharp increase in utility and council tax bill problems.

In January 2007, the bureau said it dealt with 83,000 debt problems nationwide, compared to 72,000 in January 2006.

Increasing costs of basic living such as rising fuel prices and rent charges have also contributed to peoples’ problems, Citizens Advice said.

Teresa Perchard, Director of Policy for Citizens Advice said: “Our bureaux are reporting a continuing increase in the number of debt problems people need help with.”

She explained that a combination of increases in fuel bills and rising housing costs puts additional pressure on people’s finances “which were already stretched to the limit”.

For the financial year ending 2006, Citizens Advice Bureaux dealt with 5.5 million new problems, 1.4 million of which concerned debt.

In related news, a recent comparison of average interest rates prompted “money marketplace” Zopa to calculate that people in the UK are paying £201 each in excess interest and should do more to search for the best rate.

James Alexander, co-founder and CEO of Zopa said that “people in this country desperately need to start shopping around for a better deal”.

© Adfero Ltd

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