Thousands in Wales seek debt help from Citizens Advice
Over 100,000 people in Wales received help and support from Citizens Advice Cymru in the last year – 2% more people than the previous year. Of those, 26,400 people were helped with debt-specific problems, the most popular topics reported by the organisation. Their figures also show that between April 2015 and March 2016, 68.65 million in debt was written off for over 7,000 people.
increase in council-tax related debt
rise in debt related to water bills
rise in the number of people with debt related to phones and broadband
Citizens Advice Cymru said debt relating to council tax was the most common problem, representing 13% of all debt issues in Wales. Meanwhile the number of people seeking advice around water bill debt was up by 15% to 6,320, and telephone and broadband debts were up by 10%.
Getting into serious debt not only has a devastating impact on the health and well-being of individuals and their families, especially children, but having to deal with the consequences such as rehousing a homeless family could have a significant financial knock on effect on local services.
This comes at a time when local authorities are having to deal with cuts to funding.
Also, many people do not know which debts should be a priority when they get into difficulties, which underlines the need for access to free, independent and quality-assured advice to learn about and manage their finances.
We would urge anyone who is struggling to keep on top of their bills and credit commitments and to seek help sooner rather than later. This can stop debts escalating and avoid the serious consequences caused by non-payment.
Fran Targett, Director, Citizens Advice Cymru
The charity has also highlighted the impact welfare reform is having on many people in Wales.
It is currently the biggest problem area, with almost 50,000 people seeking help for benefits-related problems between 2015 and 2016.