Knowledge is power, says debt charity

A DEBT counselling charity has issued a call to action as the new financial year begins amid a list of changes to the benefits and tax system.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has a local centre which opened in Alnwick in 2009 in partnership with the Baptist Church and is one of 150 around the UK, helping people tackle debts that have become out of control.

Manager of the Alnwick CAP centre Bill McDonald said: “Dust off the bank statements tonight and see what money you have and where it’s going. What disposable income do you have, if any? Knowledge is power.

“For most people problems are sparked by the loss of a job, illness in the family or a relationship breakdown. Yet every day there are celebrations as client after client becomes debt free – often after several years of diligent paying-in, which people are able to do with the right level of support.”

New figures show personal debt in the UK stands at £1,454 billion – worth more than the UK produces in a whole year.

CAP is growing to meet the need with more centres due to open in April.

Bill added: “On top of the highest inflation for 20 years, millions of us will see our income affected by these changes to taxes and benefits. Our message is this: If you have the kind of debt problems that are already keeping you awake at night, the cost of everyday living will further pile on the pressure.

“Don’t just worry about it. Instead, ring us and receive CAP’s free specialist help and you’ll see that burden of stress lifted.”

The centres give a uniquely in-depth service for people, seeing them in their own homes, dealing with their overdue bills, contacting creditors, helping people budget and bringing reassurance.

Anyone needing CAP’s help can find out more on www.capuk.org or telephone 0800 328 0006.