Charity Urges Indebted Brits to Seek Early Help with their Finances

January 7, 2015

Indebted Brits should seek help and support from experts sooner rather than later if they are struggling to cope with the financial hangover of an expensive Christmas.

In the New Year, it is believed that millions of men, women and families around the UK will find it tough to keep up with debt repayment demands in post-Christmas spending period.

“Our new year message is simple,” said Joanna Elson, a key debt charity spokesperson. “If you are dreading the arrival of that first credit card bill in a couple of weeks, now is the time to act.”

The advice from Ms Elson came as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that borrowing on credit cards, loans and overdrafts in the UK reached the highest levels seen since early 2008 in the run up to last month’s Christmas period.

According to the ONS’ latest numbers, credit-based spending among British consumers increased in November 2014 by £1.3 billion, which represents the sharpest monthly rise recorded since February 2008.

From a certain perspective, increased consumer borrowing and spending is seen as a positive economic indicator for the UK but experts are worried that many thousands of people will soon find themselves unable to pay their creditors and uncertain of what actions to take.

As well as recommending that indebted consumers seek early expert advice, Ms Elson urged struggling borrowers to set strict budgets for the New Year and to focus on managing income and outgoings more precisely if debts are really mounting up.

She also warned against ignoring debt issues that might start to pile up as January unfolds. “Open all of your statements to get a handle on how much you owe,” she said.

It is feared that around one in eight people in the UK will be faced with a worsened financial picture and potential debt problems in early 2015 as a result of overspending prior to and during the festive period. That’s according to the Money Advice Trust’s own research that surveyed 2,000 people and established that roughly 12 per cent expect their finances to be in a notably less healthy condition this month as compared with last.

Worryingly, there have also been a number of studies recently that suggest more and more British households are increasing their credit card debt levels. One particularly striking statistic from a recent report from the insurance group Aviva indicated that the average UK family owed over £1,000 more on credit cards in December 2014 than they did six months earlier. The average figures for credit card debts apparently shot up from £1,720 to £2,940 per family over that period across the UK.

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