Soaring numbers calling CAB with debt problems

| December 2, 2009 | 0 Comments

Research has revealed that the number of people contacting the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for help with debt problems has surged by 20% in the last 12 months.

The independent charity, which was established 70 years ago to help people with war-related problems, provides information and advice to help people with their money, legal, consumer and other problems.

The CAB said that during the three months to the end of September, it dealt with more than half a million enquiries from people struggling to keep up with their borrowing - a fifth more than during the same period in 2008.

Calls regarding benefit problems, the second most common issue after debt, are also soaring - also up by one fifth on the year, while employment problems are up by 17% year-on-year.

In the meantime, there was a rise in the number of people contacting the charity with fuel debts.

Average fuel bills are now at record highs - primarily due to the surge in wholesale gas prices in the last few years, which is pushing up the number of people in fuel poverty.

A year ago the number of households in fuel poverty in England had risen to 4 million, a sharp rise from the 1.2 million reported in 2004.

Anyone spending over 10% of their household income on heating their homes are said to be in fuel poverty.

The charity is urging people to budget carefully over Christmas, to avoid starting 2010 with a debt hangover and is distributing leaflets giving people guidance on how to budget for the festive season.

David Harker, chief executive of the CAB, said: “Citizens Advice Bureaux across the country are seeing increasing numbers of people seeking help, with benefits and debt enquiries alone up over a fifth in the last year.

“Extra funding has meant bureaux have seen more clients, but for many the impact of the recession will be felt for a long time to come,” added Mr Harker.

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