Charity says calls to debt helpline is on the up


The number of people in Luton seeking help for debt problems has increased by nearly 40 per cent since last year.

According to Step Change Debt Charity, 868 Luton residents contacted their helpline last year, up from 630 in 2012.

On average, Lutonians are £45 short of covering essential household bills each month and owe an average of £13,741 in unsecured debt.

Mike O’Connor, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity said: “Debt can have a devastating effect on people’s lives in the form of mental health issues and family breakdown. We need people to take early action to prevent some of the worst effects and get back on their financial feet much sooner”.

The findings are released to coincide with the charity’s Debt Awareness Week this week, which aims to raise awareness of the potential signs of debt problem and encourage people to seek advice earlier.

StepChange Debt Charity is urging to people to recognise that they may have a debt problem if they are doing any of the following:

· juggling or falling behind on essential household bills

· borrowing to make it through to pay day

· only making minimum repayments

· borrowing more to pay off existing debts

· getting hit by late payments or overdraft charges

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