Clients’ debt levels continue to soar across the borough

Limavady is among seven council areas in the North where the average debt per client exceeds £17,468, a leading advice organisation has revealed.

Advice NI made the stark revelation yesterday as it warned the upward trend in debt is set to continue as average debt across Council areas soars.

The report highlights that over 1,640 clients with almost £28.7 million of debt and 5,090 debts sought face to face debt advice from the Debt Action NI service during a one year period from November 2009 to October 2010.

Of the total amount of debt, the highest debt dealt with was mortgage debt at over £9 million (over 32% of the overall total debt) which includes capital of nearly £7 million and arrears of over £2 million. This was followed by credit card debt which amounted to almost £6 million.

The average debt per client across 13 Council areas amounted to £17,468 with 7 Council areas exceeding this: Omagh, Limavady, Ballymena, Srabane, Craigavon, Lisburn and East Belfast.

At LCDI in Limavady, Advice co-ordinator Harry Lyness said things aren’t getting any better, but appealed to anyone with financial problems to seek help.

“Things are definitely getting worse but Debt Action NI is providing help for people. Our money and debt advisor has had good results. People can be helped and it takes the pressure off them,” he said.

“We advise people to come to us early to be helped. Once people find themselves having difficulty managing their debt they need to come to us,” said Mr. Lyness.

Demand for debt advice was also high in Limavady, according to the Advice NI report.

Bob Stronge, Chief Executive Officer at Advice NI explained,

“People in Northern Ireland continue to feel the effects of the recession. The current economic climate, cuts in welfare and public spending, coupled with anticipated increases in interest rates later this year is likely to cause financial pressure for greater numbers of people.

Individuals struggling with debt should act quickly and the Debt Action NI service which is free and confidential can help change people’s lives by offering them better ways to manage their finances and debts.

From November 2009 to October 2010 Debt Action NI has been successful in gaining 1,193 successful outcomes for clients which range from write offs, to debt management plans, bankruptcy, individual voluntary arrangements and full and final settlements.’

The Debt Action NI service is available to anyone from NI. A series of leaflets on how to deal with debt and details of where to get debt advice can be found at www.debtaction-ni.net or by calling Advice NI on 02890645919.

To make an appointment with LCDI debt advice service call advisor Trudie Mcmanus on 028 77729148 or drop in to LCDI at the Old Roe Valley Hospital off Scroggy Road, Limavady.