Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has urged constituents who may be struggling with debt to get advice as soon as possible.
Ms McTaggart’s comments come after she visited the charities Bothwell Street headquarters in the city centre on Friday 9th September and as new figures from StepChange Debt Charity show a 75% increase in the number of calls for help from people with debt problems in the area between 2012 and 2014. The charity offers free debt advice to people across the United Kingdom and helped over 2,000 people in Glasgow in 2014 – up from 1,100 in 2012.
Research shows that 50% of people with problem debt struggle for more than a year before seeking advice – so the need for urgent debt help is likely to be far greater than the figures suggest.
Local MSP Anne McTaggart says increased awareness of free debt advice services in and around Glasgow can make a real difference:
“I was delighted to be able to visit StepChange and see first-hand some of the fantastic work they are doing. It is important to know that if you are struggling to make ends meet, expert debt advice can help.
“StepChange Debt Charity does valuable work to help local people deal with their debts and get back on their feet.
“I would encourage anyone struggling with debt to seek free, charity-run debt advice at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Figures from StepChange Debt Charity Scotland show that people seeking debt advice in Glasgow on average owe over £10,600 to credit card companies and other consumer lenders. Around one-third of clients in the city have fallen behind on essential livings costs such as housing, Council Tax and energy bills.
Commenting on the figures, Head of StepChange Debt Charity Scotland Sharon Bell said:
“Problem debt is often the result of a negative change in circumstances. Unemployment, reduced income or ill health can happen to anyone so it is really important people hear about the free debt help available.
“MSPs can help people take positive action on debt by raising awareness of services such as StepChange Debt Charity in the local community.
“If you are borrowing to cover household bills or stuck in a cycle of minimum payments, the time to act is now.
“Our message to anyone struggling with household debt in Glasgow is simple: seek free advice from a debt charity as soon as possible. The earlier you seek advice, the easier the problem will be to solve.”
The StepChange Debt Charity free phone helpline 0800 138 1111 is open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 4pm Saturday. Online help is available any time from StepChange Debt Charity Debt Remedy at www.stepchange.org