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CAB - "Bills are still piling high" as economy improves

As the UK economy moves back to pre-financial crisis levels, the outlook will be brighter for some households but for others the legacy of the recession will continue to leave them struggling to make ends meet.

Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, Gillian Guy, said:

“Bills are still piling high for some people even as the economy looks brighter. The economy moving back to its pre-recession levels is good news and will help some households move forwards. But years of rising prices, stagnant wages and insecure work, means for many people there is a long way to go before they are on an even keel.

“We found three in five people are worried about rising bills this year and over half are cutting spending to cope. It is often the basic bills that people struggle to pay. One in five people reporting debt problems to Citizens Advice has a council tax debt issue, which is now the number one debt problem we help with. The legacy of the recession has pushed more people toward high-cost short-term credit in order to pay their bills.”

Citizens Advice’s evidence highlights some of the pressures households are still facing as the economy improves:

  • In the last 12 months, bureaux helped 90,000 people with unsecured personal loans and 87,000 people with credit and charge card problems.
  • 1 in 5 people with Council Tax arrears also has a credit or store car debt, and 1 in 20 had mortgage arrears
  • In the last 12 months, bureaux helped 450,000 people with 1.6 million debt problems.
  • Energy prices are up 33% since 2010, seven times the increase in annual earnings.  
  • In April this year, Citizens Advice found the number of logbook loans taken out this year could reach 60,000; a rise of 61% on 2011.

Citizens Advice

Notes to editors:

  1. This year the Citizens Advice service celebrates its 75th anniversary. We’ve planned a year of activity running from January to December 2014. Contact the press office on 03000 231 080, or via email at press.office@citizensadvice.org.uk, to find out more.
  2. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  3. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  4. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online atwww.adviceguide.org.uk
  5. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  6. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.6 million problems from April 2012 to March 2013. For full 2012/2013 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  7. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 22,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.
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