New figures released by the Money Advice Service have revealed that consumer demand for advice on dealing with debt soared to an all-time high last year. The service, which was set up by the Government but is run independently, provided more than 250,000 free debt advice sessions to British consumers in the 2014/15 financial year. In total, it was contacted by over 22 million people – an increase of 35% on 2013/14.
Of course, not everyone getting in touch with the Money Advice Service is looking for help with debts. The organisation provides information and advice on a wide range of financial topics. But, as CEO Caroline Rookes comments, the service is certainly ‘…helping more people than ever to become money smart, manage their finances more effectively and get out of debt.’
The Money Advice Service also works alongside the debt advice industry to drive up standards and widen access to quality debt advice. Their achievements in 2014/15 include developing a new Peer Review scheme to assess the quality of advice given by debt counsellors and to encourage scheme members to share best practice.
A Standard Financial Statement is also being developed to standardise how debt advisers collect details of their clients’ income and outgoings. This will help bring more consistency to the process of working out an individual’s disposable income and how much they can afford to repay their creditors each month.
Andy Gorton, owner of debt advice company, Bankruptcy Clinic, comments: ‘The work that the Money Advice Service does is making a huge difference to the quality and availability of debt advice to British consumers. We welcome the changes they’re introducing, such as the Peer Review Scheme and Standard Financial Statement, which are giving people more confidence in the debt advice industry and the information they’re receiving.’
Looking at the latest Money Charity statistics, this growth in confidence couldn’t be coming at a better time. According to the charity’s May 2015 report, the average debt per UK adult stood at £29,186 in March 2015 – 115% of average earnings and an increase on February’s average figure of £29,127.
Average consumer (unsecured) lending also increased by an extra £385 per household during the same month, standing at £6,376 in March. In total, the UK owed £170.2 billion worth of consumer credit at the end of March 2015, an increase of £10.2 billion on the previous year and equivalent to an extra £203 for every adult in the country.
‘Here in the UK, debt is still a national crisis,’ says Andy. ‘And judging by the statistics released by both the Money Advice Service and the Money Charity, the situation could be getting worse rather than better. Luckily, more help is now on hand than ever before for people struggling with overwhelming debts.’
Living in debt misery? Bankruptcy Clinic can help
Bankruptcy Clinic offers access to a range of professional debt management services that can help you overcome your financial problems. These include:
- Bankruptcy. As our name suggests, we’re experts in providing advice and information on bankruptcy and helping you through the process. Declaring bankruptcy is a legal process and can be daunting, but don’t worry. If this is the right way forward, you’ll be supported every step of the way.
- Debt Relief Order (DRO). This could be an option if you meet certain, quite strict criteria such as owing less than £15,000 (£2,000 after October 2015) and having little or no income or assets. You’ll also need to live or work in England or Wales. If you qualify, a DRO could be a good alternative to bankruptcy.
- Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). You’ll need to be able to afford to make monthly payments towards your unsecured debts, usually for five years, to apply for an IVA. It’s a legally-binding process that provides protection from your creditors. If you stick to the IVA’s terms, any leftover debts will be cancelled when it ends.
- Debt Management Plan (DMP). This is an informal arrangement to repay your creditors as much as you can afford each month. It will be set up and managed on your behalf, so you only make one monthly payment and don’t need to have direct contact with your creditors. The plan will continue until your debts are repaid in full.
Of course, your available options will depend on factors such as how much you owe, the type of your debts and your disposable income amount. Whether or not you’re a homeowner is also an important point.
When you contact Bankruptcy Clinic, you’ll be referred to an expert adviser at our partner debt management firm, Moneysolve Ltd, who’ll talk through your circumstances in detail. Once they’ve gathered all the necessary information, your debt options will be explained to you so you can make an informed choice about how to deal with your debts.
Let’s get started – contact Bankruptcy Clinic today!
- Call us on 0808 168 7389 or 01625 462 770
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Apply online with our simple enquiry form.