DEBT and rising expenses are sending people ‘over the edge’ in East Staffordshire, according to the head of the borough’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB).
Dawn Green, chief executive for the Burton-based organisation, said families and individuals are finding themselves stuck in the mire of financial problems as they take stock of money issues after the expensive Christmas period.
Her warning comes after CAB staff were called on to deal with 50 per cent more debt cases than anticipated in the run up to Christmas – a figure made even worse by the fact that they were already expecting a record amount of help requests.
Mrs Green said: “Some budgets are at breaking point, with January the time when people take stock of their finances.
“People who have never experienced money worries before are finding their finances increasingly tight as rises in day to day spending like keeping their home warm, getting to work and putting food on the table is sending them over the edge.”
Staff and volunteers have already been inundated with requests for help in the first few weeks of the year, and they are expecting numbers to continue rising.
Nationally, there was in increase of almost 40 per cent on the amount of people accessing the online Adviceline for debt advice.
Between December 26 and January 2, more than 23,800 people sought help through the online forum.
Increasing use of payday loans, credit cards and overdrafts have all contributed to the rise, according to Mrs Green.
She added: “There are things people can do to get on top of their finances, including making sure they’re getting all of the help available, aren’t paying over the odds for things like gas and electricity and prioritising their spending to make sure there is money for essentials like rent, energy bills and water.
“It’s important people don’t wait for debts to mount before they seek help.
“A few early actions could stave off a future financial meltdown.”
The CAB can be contacted by calling 01283 527980.