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300 people in Cornwall face debt 'crisis' after Christmas

300 people in Cornwall face debt 'crisis' after Christmas

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 2:09pm 30th January 2020. (Updated at 4:17pm 30th January 2020)

Around 300 people across Cornwall are believed to be facing debt problems in the aftermath of Christmas.

Citizens Advice Cornwall says January and February is its busiest time of year.

Families are struggling with things such as council tax arrears, credit, store and charge cards, water supply and unsecured loans.

Analysis of national data over a 12-month period reveals that on a single day - 29th January 2019 - Citizens Advice offices helped 2,776 people. This is 24% above the daily average. 

In 2017 and 2018, the busiest day for debt advice fell on 31st January, with 2,762 and 2,775 clients seeking help respectively. 

This means over the past three years one person sought help from Citizens Advice every 10 seconds on the busiest days for debt advice. 

The charity says that debt worries can affect your health and relationships - and is urging people to seek help.

money

"There is a surge in demand for our debt advice towards the second half of January. 

"We know that dealing with debt can be hugely stressful and that Christmas is often an additional burden for anyone already in financial difficulty.

"Citizens Advice can offer free and independent advice and support to help you deal with your debts and get back on your feet."

Citizens Advice Cornwall Chief Executive, Gill Pipkin

depression alone

Citizens Advice Cornwall's six top tips to sort out your debts.

  1. Work out how much you owe - Make a list of whom you owe money to and add up how much you need to pay each month. If you don't have your most recent statements, contact your creditor to find out what you owe. 
  2. Prioritise your debts - Your rent or mortgage, energy and council tax are called priority debts as there can be serious consequences if you don't pay them. These should always be paid first. Separate these and work out how much you owe.
  3. Work out how much you can pay - Create a budget by adding up your essential living costs, such as food and housing, and taking these away from your income. Any money you have spare can be put towards your debts. Citizens Advice budgeting tool can help. 
  4.  Paying urgent debts - You might have to contact priority creditors quickly in urgent situations, like if you are about to be evicted. Tell them you're seeking debt advice so you can find a way forward. You could try to pay them something if you can afford to.
  5. Paying non-urgent debts - If you have any money left after paying priority debts, consider getting a free debt-management plan. You'll make one monthly payment to the plan provider, who will handle paying your creditors. Or contact your creditors and offer them what you can afford to pay.
  6. If you can't pay your debts - If you've got little or no money spare to pay your priority debts seek advice from us straight away.

For information and advice, contact Citizens Advice Cornwall on 03444-111-444 (calls charged at your normal rate) or text the word DEBT to 78866.

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