Debt levels soaring

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A Limavady debt advisor has 65 cases on her books handling a staggering £2.78 million worth of debt, the ‘Journal’ has learned.

Money debt advisor, Trudie McManus is based at Limavady Community Development Initiative in Limavady.

“Currently, I have 65 live cases (plus 182 closed cases) and of those, 20% have debts totalling over £30,000,” she said.

“I’m currently dealing with £2.78 million of debt. The highest debt categories remain credit cards, almost £300,000 and personal loans, £250,000, but mortgage arrears are increasing. I currently have 12 live client cases with mortgage arrears totalling over £60,000 between them.”

Mortgage shortfall is also a growing problem, said Ms McManus.

“This is the money still owed by clients after the house has been repossessed and sold at a loss, with four current clients in this situation owing around £80,000 between them. This averages out at £20,000 per client.”

Another issue is rates arrears.

“I have six current clients owing just under £25,000 between them. Around two thirds of my clients are on a benefits only income,” she said.

Ms McManus says debt is increasing in the area, with many more clients having to surrender their properties.

However, she is keen to stress there is help, but says people need to seek it urgently and not sit back and hide from it.

Right now, Ms McManus has 26 cases for debt relief orders, which is similar to bankruptcy but people don’t have to go through the trauma or stigma of having to go to court.

“Since the inception of this project, Debt Action NI in November 2009, I have handled over £6.5 million of debt. The average debt is up to £20,000 from around £15,000 a year ago,” she explained. “But we can and have helped. People can’t sit back and bury their heads in the sand. the quicker they come to nus the more we can do.”

For information call LCDI at 02877765438.