Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Ulster families grappling with debts of £60m

Hard-up Ulster families are grappling with debts totalling over £60m, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal today.

Hard-up Ulster families are grappling with debts totalling over £60m, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal today.

The Limavady-based Consumer Credit Counselling Service says it is currently dealing with a staggering £40m debt in Northern Ireland - adding that the size of the average debt is £23,000.

Warning that this is just scratching the surface, the agency said its current caseload - which will force it to double its staff in the New Year - is getting increasingly worse and does not include mortgages or bank loans.

Meanwhile, the Citizens' Advice Bureau today said its clients are facing debts of £19.8m and rising - already a 25% rise of £4m on last year's £15.9m figure, which does include mortgage debts.

Consumer Credit Counselling Service centre manager, Debbie Mills, said today that the £40m debt is just the tip of the iceberg as the figure only concerned debt accrued from catalogue, credit card and utility bills.

"Debt saddles all incomes and social groups," she said.

Ms Mills added that the Consumer Credit Counselling Service is now planning to double staffing levels in the New Year, as services have been stretched to cope with 75 new clients a week.

Ulster families in debt crisis: page 6

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