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Advisers flooded under deluge of debt

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The UK debt problem is serious, with advisers increasingly unable to cope with the sheer volume of calls from debtors asking for help. Mike Collins reports 
Debt solutions company One Advice is now receiving around 26,000 calls a month, 50% more than in the same period last year, revealing the true shocking extent of the UK’s unsecured debt problem.

The company expects 2006 to be its busiest year ever, and its research has shown that more than 3 million people owe in excess of £10,000 on credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts, with around 250,000 of these having £50,000 or more of unsecured debt.

One Advice chief executive Chris Holmes says: “With so many people seeking help financial problems, debt advisory services are being inundated with calls. Around 9 out of 10 calls to my company are answered by an adviser within one minute, but we estimate that throughout the industry as a whole 4 out of 10 calls are not answered at all.”

But Holmes urges people to persevere. “Debt becomes a lot more unmanageable if you ignore it, or pretend it’s not there,” he says. “If you call a professional adviser in time then there are solutions available.”

Financial adviser Martin Cunningham says: “The UK debt mountain now stands in excess of £1 trillion, which is testament to irresponsibility on the part of both lenders and borrowers.

“Easy credit has been made available for too long to people who do not have the financial discipline to manage it sensibly and we have now arrived at a very serious situation indeed for many people, with some liable to lose their homes because of their debts.”

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