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Cameron should 'get real' on credit card debts

5 Oct 2011

Citizens Advice Scotland have said the Prime Minister is failing to understand the problems faced by people in debt, after reports that he is to tell the Conservative Party Conference that people should pay off their debts to help the economy

In advance of the speech, CAS Head of Policy Susan McPhee said,

“If these reports of the speech are true then the Prime Minister is clearly failing to understand the problems faced by people who are in debt. He should get real and find practical ways of helping people address the problem.

 “It is very simplistic to say that everyone in debt should simply pay off their debts and that would solve the problem. Most people who are in debt would love to do that, if only they could. But how can you pay off your debts if you’ve lost your job, or if your income is barely enough to cover your basic living costs from week to week? And that’s the reality for many of the people he is talking about.

 “Scottish CAB advisers see people every day who are drowning in debt. The average debt among our clients is now well over £20,000. None of those people want to be in debt. People get into debt for a whole number of complex reasons, and every individual case is different, and needs an individual solution.

 “It would perhaps be better if the government recognised that, and concentrated more on helping people stay out of debt in the first place, or on finding ways to stop small debts from snowballing into un-manageable ones.

 “Anyone who wants to get out of debt can get free, independent advice from their local CAB. We will give them expert help that is tailored to their unique personal situation, e.g. in many cases we can negotiate with creditors to make re-payment easier.

 “Of course we would welcome moves from the government to help people get out of debt. But these would have to be based on realistic and practical objectives, including better financial awareness, more affordable credit options, and more support for advice services.”

 For interviews etc. please contact Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010 or 07774 751655. NB This is a Press Office number. If you require advice please contact your local CAB – you can do this by going back to our home page