Christians Against Poverty (CAP) expects to have its busiest day of the year on record today as the number of people contacting it for free help with debt problems climbs.
But, says the charity, this is not down to a splurge of spending over the Christmas period. It has more to do with people deciding that it is time to address their problems at the start of a new year.
And this comes on a day when the latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that in 2008/10 the combined household debt in Great Britain stood at £94.7 billion. 49.4% of those in debt consider it a burden, not a means of leveraging to improving their lives. (See ONS video below.)
CAP Chief Executive, Matt Barlow, said: “There is a simplistic generalisation that people give their credit cards a hammering at Christmas, end up with debt problems and call organisations like ours for help in January. The truth behind the stats is more complex and concerning.
“Our phone lines will be very busy this month, as ever, and while some will have overspent during past Christmases, their stories reflect a toxic mixture of unexpected life events like job loss, relationship breakdown and illness over a long period of unenviable stress. Yes, mistakes may well have been made but it does people a disservice to suggest a splurge at Christmas caused the level of pain they will be feeling.”
Mondays are also the busiest days for CAP. Last January Monday 30th saw its peak day of 2012.
When calling for help Christmas spending was not cited as the problem. 38% of them were in arrears with mortgage or rent and with that come the worry of homelessness.
CAP provides free debt advice and has 218 church-based centres around the UK as well as a centralised booking line. After the client has talked to representative CAP can then negotiate with creditors and facilitate repayment plans or insolvency.
For more information visit capdebthelp.org