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10 October 2008

Increased call on Citizens’ Advice Bureau for debt management advice

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by Lin Freestone

Increased call on Citizens’ Advice Bureau for debt management advice

Since October 2007, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau has been contacted by 77,324 new callers in England and Wales with problems relating to mortgage and loan arrears.

There has been a surge of 51% in the last three months to the end of September in the number of people seeking advice, compared with the same period last year.

The most common causes of arrears are illness, job loss or separation from a partner. One in five of the people seeking help were in a one parent family, and more than half the callers were between the ages of 35 and 49.

David Harker, chief executive of Citizens Advice, has said that it is vital that mortgage lenders and fuel companies do everything in their power to help people in arrears to come to a workable solution over repayment arrangements, rather than piling on extra charges.

He considers that the number of enquiries about basic essentials is worrying and the figures show how the current economic situation is hitting vulnerable and low-income households the hardest.

All creditors should treat borrowers in arrears fairly and sympathetically, negotiate with borrowers in trouble and only use court action for mortgage arrears as a last resort, concluded Mr Harker.


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