Southern Towns 'Struggling With Debt'

Residents living in Farnborough and Aldershot are increasingly struggling with their money management, new statistics indicate.

In findings released by the towns' Citizens Advice branches, some individuals owe more than 100,000 pounds. Sources of debt, the studies also revealed, included unsecured loans, satellite television costs and mobile phone bills, reports the Aldershot News and Mail.

Alex Hughes, district manager for the Rushmoor region which covers the two towns, told the publication: "Debt is having a severe impact on many people and this is reflected in the growing number of clients with debt-related issues coming to Citizens Advice for help . " He also pointed out that the number of people going to Citizens Advice branches in the region stood at 6,530 as of 2006-07, an increase of some 89 per cent from the 3,439 noted during 2005-06. In Aldershot, however, consumers are an average of some £ 5,000 in debt. Research carried out by Experian last year meanwhile showed that Aldershot had more people per capita who had taken out individual voluntary arrangements than anywhere else in Britain.

Meanwhile, a study of 40 Farnborough residents who approached the town's Citizens Advice branch with debt-related issues in the time between July 2006 and August 2007 showed that they were an average of 16,928 pounds in the red, via secured loans, overdrafts, credit cards and other types of borrowing. However, even after rescheduling their debts within agreed budgets, these people may not be at the end of their money management difficulties as it will take them a typical length of 31 years to complete making repayments on their borrowing, with the majority of this owed via unsecured loans. Overall, the majority of debt problems witnessed in the area were attributed to a shortfall in income, whether this be through a job loss or drop in earnings.

Commenting on the figures, Jean Rathbone, manager of Citizens Advice's Farnborough office, said: "There are various new sources of debt, related to more recent innovations such as mobile phone bills and the cost of satellite television. Although currently these only account for a very small proportion of debt, we anticipate it will rise in the future. "

Lou Whatley, money advice coordinator at the Aldershot branch, added: "For most clients, their primary concern is their priority debt, such as rent, council tax and utilities. Unfortunately, they often get caught up with easily obtained credit, which compromises their ability to pay priority. "

The news comes as research carried out by Citizens Advice showed that the level of debt enquiries taken at offices throughout England and Wales recently reached a record high at 1.7 million. According to the advisory service, financial problems have doubled during the past decade and now account for about a third of all the enquiries that they receive. Personal loans and credit cards were revealed as being the main driving factor behind this increase as these difficulties have risen by about 40 per cent. Meanwhile, debt problems resulting from telephone bills have surged by some 19 per cent. However, for those consumers who are concerned that managing money is becoming untenable opting for a debt consolidation loan could well be a wise idea. In applying for such a loan, borrowers could find that they have more disposable income left at the end of each month.

Source by Steve A Smith

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