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CAB - Families “starting the year in the red” with record demand for credit

Citizens Advice has warned that whilst credit card debt is the second most common debt problem it helps people with, more are now getting help with priority debts like council tax as they struggle with everyday costs.

Bank of England figures recently revealed that demand for credit cards and other unsecured debt products like personal loans is at its highest level since 2007.

Earlier this week Citizens Advice predicted that 2,000 people will get debt help from Citizens Advice Bureaux on just the first day they reopened after the Christmas break.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Many families are starting the year in the red. Credit card debt is the second most common debt problem brought to Citizens Advice Bureaux. Demand for credit cards and unsecured loans at its highest point for seven years is a warning that people are struggling to pay everyday costs.

“We’ve started to see a shift towards other types of debt as more people get advice for priority debts like council tax arrears. People also need our help because they can’t pay their rent, energy bills or afford the weekly shop.  

“Citizens Advice will help over 10,500 people with debt in just the first week of January. The earlier people seek advice about their money worries the less chance there is that debts will escalate.”

People seeking online debt advice from Citizens Advice rose by 15 per cent last year to 2.1 million, up from 1.8 million in 2013. Online advice about credit card debt was sought by 20 per cent more people in the same period, rising from 30,000 to 35,000.

Citizens Advice Bureaux helped over 87,000 people with credit card debts and 86,000 people with unsecured personal loans from October 2013 to September 2014.

Citizens Advice

Notes to editors:

  1. To contact the Citizens Advice news team call the press office on 03000 231 080, or via email at press.office@citizensadvice.org.uk.
  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 citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at 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 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  7. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.
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