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Citizens Advice Bureau expects surge in debt problems

The Gibraltar Citizens Advice Bureau (GCAB) expects a surge in people needing help with debt problems during the coming weeks.

“Some people have begun the New Year fighting a debt hangover,” the GCAB said in a statement.

“We usually see a rise in people getting help with debt problems in January, but the kind of problems people are struggling with has been changing throughout the years.”

The GCAB believes debt is often the last thing on people’s minds at Christmas.  However, failure to get help early can make debt problems increase, the GCAB said.

The bureau has prepared guidelines to help people sort out their finances to avoid or overcome debt.

Top Ten Tips on how to deal with debt

  1. Don’t bury your head in the sand.  Dealing with debt problems is easier the smaller they are so, take action before they start to spiral out of control.
  1. Think very carefully before you take out more credit or a loan to cover your debts.
  1. Talk to your creditors and let them know you are having problems.
  1. Don’t pay off the person who is shouting the loudest, but pay the most important ones like mortgage or rent; electricity and water. Otherwise you will be in danger of losing your home, having your water and electricity cut off; or ending up in court and possibly prison.
  1. Don’t ignore court papers.
  1. Get advice on benefits, social assistance and other help you may be entitled to if you are struggling. A bureau adviser can check if you are missing out on additional income and help you make a claim.
  1. Look carefully at your spending, see if there is anything you are able to cut down on and draw up a realistic budget.
  1. Work out how much you can realistically afford to pay.
  1. Start planning ahead for next Christmas now. Putting aside a little money each week could cover the cost of next Christmas and mean you don’t have to take out loans.
  1. Don’t pay for advice. Citizens Advice gives free, independent and confidential advice.  They will help you work out repayments and negotiate with your creditors, and also help you keep out of debt in the future.

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