Charity warns of Sheffield debt crisis

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MORE people in Sheffield than ever before are facing spiralling debt problems, according to a leading credit counselling organisation.

The impact of the economic downturn and rising unemployment have resulted in increasing numbers of Sheffield residents who are in debt.

And more people who need help for their financial problems are too cash-strapped to start paying back their debt, according to charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service.

Delroy Corinaldi, CCCS external affairs director, said: “The picture is undoubtedly bleak and it seems likely that many more families, including better-off ones, will be increasingly prone to over-indebtedness in the months ahead.

“It is also not a uniform picture across the country - public sector cuts in terms of jobs, spending and benefits will weigh disproportionately on certain groups of people.

“I am very concerned about the personal debt situation in Sheffield. Not only are there more people from Sheffield contacting us for help with their debts but those who do are in an increasingly worse situation.”

CCCS have reported a rise in people from Sheffield seeking its help for the fourth successive year.

Around 2,590 Sheffield residents called their helpline last year, compared to 1,967 in 2006.

Of those only 667 people had enough spare income to begin a repayment plan, down from 759 in 2006.

Mr Corinaldi urged anyone worried about their debt or struggling to cover the cost of day-to-day expenses to seek free advice and support.

He also warned against using fee-charging advice companies in an attempt to solve problems, which he said would only exacerbate the problem.

Mr Corinaldi added: “I would urge anyone in Sheffield struggling to repay their debts to seek help from a charity such as CCCS who can provide free advice and support.

“We have the capacity to help whoever needs it. It doesn’t make sense, when you are already struggling financially, to pay for a service that is available for free.”

n The CCCS helpline 0800 1381111 is open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.