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UK debt problems mount as price is paid for easy credit

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11/09/2007

The number of people seeking advice on debt has gone up 20% in the past 12 months, according to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

CAB said debt is now the priority issue it tackles on an ongoing basis, with 1.7 million people seeking help for financial problems last year – working out to 6,600 debt enquiries each day – a third of all the work it undertakes.

The worst problems are with credit cards and unsecured loans, accounting for 40% of debt-related queries. Consumer debt problems of all kinds went up by 14%, while problems with overdrafts and unsecured loans increased by more than 18%.

Bankruptcy-related queries went up by 50%.

CAB boss David Harker said: “A growing number of people are paying the price of the easy credit boom and are being overwhelmed by serious debt that can have a devastating impact on their lives.

“Even more worrying are the signs that people are struggling not just to repay credit but to afford day-to-day essentials.”

He discerned even more problems for the future. “We still see widespread evidence of people being lent much more money than they can afford to repay, with many companies actively marketing expensive credit and loans to those already struggling.”

To help the CAB deal with the mounting problems the Government has provided cash from the Financial Inclusion Fund for 370 new debt advisers.

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