Debt Charity Citizens Advice has issued a warning today because they estimate that British households owe £ 18.9 billion in overdue payments to essential service providers and their city councils. This household debt has now overtaken consumer credit as the main problem for which people seek the charity of debt.
The essential legislative debt includes nearly £ 7.5 billion in overpaid tax reductions that still have to be repaid, £ 2.84 billion in taxes and £ 2.2 billion in water companies. The total also means an increase of 40% compared to the £ 13.5 billion that was due in 2011-12.
As a result, the charity helped last year with 690,000 debt problems, almost double the number of consumer credit issues they saw (350,000). Because these problems can have far more serious consequences than the credit debt, with missed tax payments from the city council that may even lead to a prison sentence in some extreme cases, it is not surprising that more people seek help. At the same time, it is worrying that so many are left behind.
Citizens Advice reported that many of the people coming to them are afraid of bailiffs. Gillian Guy, the chief executive, reports: "Every three minutes a person comes to us for help with bailiffs … small missed bills can shoot up because of excessive enforcement costs, evidence shows that aggressive tactics by bailiffs cause enormous worries and people even further into debt. "
If you know someone who is struggling, the taboo that keeps some people from talking about money matters may prevent you from offering immediate help, but you could suggest that they ask their nearest debt relief organization for advice. If they do not even want to, or if the debt is still manageable enough – and their credit rating is still positive – there are also the pages on direct action loans and our debt guides for people who are not sure which steps they have to take.
Gillian pointed out that "Families without essential items such as food or electricity are going to meet their payments." This kind of debt will not disappear by simply ignoring it, and no one wants to see court bailants getting by, so anyone struggling with paying the bills must strongly consider seeking help before it's too late.
Disclaimer: Information is correct from the publication date (shown at the top of this article). All offered products can be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.