Growing debts cripple families in resort
SPIRALLING problems of debt are crippling families in a town regarded as one of the most wealthy in Suffolk, it was revealed today.Despite Felixstowe port providing work for thousands and injecting millions of pounds into its economy, residents are suffering huge money worries – leading to bankruptcy, stress and depression.
SPIRALLING problems of debt are crippling families in a town regarded as one of the most wealthy in Suffolk, it was revealed today.
Despite Felixstowe port providing work for thousands and injecting millions of pounds into its economy, residents are suffering huge money worries – leading to bankruptcy, stress and depression.
Millions of pounds are owed by struggling families at the resort and Citizens' Advice Bureau workers say they have been inundated by people needing help.
In the past year, inquiries at Felixstowe CAB in Orwell Road have risen by more than 25 per cent to more than 15,000 – with more than half the total being money and debt related.
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CAB manager Barbara Rose said: "Our figures speak for themselves and nationally CABs are now dealing with well over a million new debt enquiries each year.
"The impact of unmanageable debt on an individual's life can be devastating and overwhelming.
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"It causes stress, depression and anxiety, as well as relationship breakdown and feelings of isolation.
"Help from our money advisors Liz Corbishley and Diana Stannard has been vitally important in alleviating the fear and distress of our many debt clients."
A report on the debt problems by CAB staff pinpoint a number of areas of concern, with one of the main worries the number of low or benefit income families getting credit or loan deals.
"Their main source of credit is through lenders who charge the highest rates of interest and who employ doorstep collectors to tie the customer into making payments, even when this is jeopardising their ability to pay rent and other priority payments," said the report.
A growing area of concern was also the number of retired owner-occupiers with consumer debt at a time in their lives when income has reduced – often targeted by door-to-door salesmen selling insurance or loans for house repairs or improvements.
n Are you suffering debt problems? What should be done to help families handle money? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk
ONE family driven from their home by growing debts, unable to repay credit deals for household goods, said more needed to be done to protect vulnerable low income people.
The couple – who asked not to be named – and their two children, aged six and eight, left Felixstowe earlier this year, unable to pay their rent and facing an uncertain future.
"Our rent was over £600 a month for a three-bedroom house. We did receive some housing benefit towards that but after I lost my job we could not cope," said the father.
"We got ourselves into a worse and worse situation and borrowed some money to try to keep up with the rent, which we felt was our priority.
"That meant we were not paying other bills and in the end we decided to give up the house and move away and try and have a fresh start. I got a new job and slowly we are getting out of this mess, although we still owe a lot."
He said fortunately people they owed money to had been understanding and a repayment programme had been arranged, but felt companies should not lend in the first place to low income families who might struggle to repay later.
The father had suffered severe stress because of the debts, which had led to him losing his job, and it had taken a terrible toll on the whole family.