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Posted on 28th November, 2014 by Lincoln Against Poverty
Louise Jardine is the Special Advice Services Manager at Lincoln Citizens Advice Bureau. In her column she explains how the organisation can help people struggling with their finances.
More people than ever are facing difficulties in managing their everyday budgets.
There are a number of factors impacting upon this, including changes to welfare legislation, zero contract hours and pay not keeping up with inflation.
We have seen a rise in the number of people supporting their household budgets by accessing foodbanks.
At Lincoln Citizens Advice Bureau we see a number of different types of debt – from credit cards, council tax arrears, secured loans, hire purchase agreements, rent or mortgage arrears, water arrears, to court fines and utility and telephone debts.
Access to traditional credit is changing and this is a reflection on changes in society.
Many of our clients seek high interest borrowing as they don’t have access to more mainstream ways of borrowing, such as banks.
Since April 1, 2014 our Specialist Caseworkers have negotiated 414 priority debts worth a total value of £868,338 and 1537 non-priority debts, totalling £2,342,362. Priority debts include mortgage and rent arrears as well as other money owed which could result in a person losing their home. Non-priority debts cover such things as credit and store card debts as well as payday and doorstep lenders.
Lincoln CAB is backing the Lincoln Against Poverty ‘Say No To High Cost Borrowing’ campaign that is showing people who need to borrow money where they can access affordable credit and giving debt advice to those in financial difficulties. This is particularly pertinent in the lead-up to Christmas when many families will feel the financial strain.
Here at the CAB we look at the different strategies available when giving debt advice but also look an income maximisation and financial inclusion.
We can assist with any debt presented either directly or by referring the person to a suitable agency. Someone approached or already involved with a loan shark, for example, would be referred to the Illegal Money Lending Team (telephone 0300 555 2222) as this type of lender operates outside the law, without the correct permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority and rarely gives paperwork, keeping borrowers in the dark as to how much they are paying back.
Anyone who needs advice or support regarding money problems can contact us. It is never too late to get help.
Our experienced caseworkers are highly skilled and deal with the problems people face sensitively.
Please don’t ignore the situation if you are in financial difficulties. We will help you find a solution.
For more information, please visit www.lincolncab.org.uk or call 03444 111 444.