Life and debt situation

EAST Cambridgeshire residents are struggling under mounting debts and the numbers seeking bankruptcy advice have leapt by a worrying 53 per cent. Debt counsellors fear that people are increasingly battling to meet day-to-day living costs. The average debt

EAST Cambridgeshire residents are struggling under mounting debts and the numbers seeking bankruptcy advice have leapt by a worrying 53 per cent.

Debt counsellors fear that people are increasingly battling to meet day-to-day living costs.

The average debt of those taking their problems to Ely's Citizens' Advice Bureau is a staggering £24,500 and council tax debts have increased by 25 per cent.

One in three callers at the bureau has debt or relationship problems and credit debt makes up more than 50 per cent of the case load.


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"We have seen a record number of people with debts and relationship problems," said Beverley Howard, manager of Ely CAB. "In the last couple of months we have helped clients with over £2 million of debt."

The personal and social costs of spiralling debt are also high with many people being treated by their doctors for stress, depression and anxiety.

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CAB counsellors fear that not enough is being done to prevent people getting into debt or helping them with serious debt problems.

"It's a vicious circle," said a CAB spokesman. "Debt causes strain on relationships but if the family break up this leads to more debt. The important thing is to ensure you get the right help and advice, before further problems occur."

Anybody who has problems with debt, benefits, employment or needs practical help on relationships can contact the CAB by ringing its advice line on 0845 1306442 between Monday and Thursday, 9.15am to 1.30pm or call into the offices in Market Street on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday between 9.15am and 12 noon.

There is also other specialist help available from the bureau including Trading Standards, tax help for older people and law for all. Appointments can be made for these services by ringing the advice line.

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