Ipswich: Debt charity reports upsurge in people from the town seeking its help

Upsurge in people seeking help with debt

Upsurge in people seeking help with debt - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2008

Hundreds of people suffering financial worries in Ipswich have led to an upsurge in cases for debt advice charities.

StepChange Debt Charity was approached by 802 residents in the town seeking advice during the first six months of this year compared with 688 over the same period last year.

The 17% year-on-year increase comes despite a slight reprieve household budgets, with those contacting the charity an average of £27 a month better off than they were last year.

After living costs, however, those people were left with just £16 per month spare, the charity said.

Christians Against Poverty, which began offering advice in the town last October has also reported a “very busy year” and a “constant stream” of people seeking its support.

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said the news was a “big concern – but not a surprise”.

“Inflation is rising faster than pay, people’s benefits are being cut – this is a big issue,” he added.

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“We are seeing it repeated across debt advice charities, food banks and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

“It’s something we are trying our best to address at Ipswich Borough Council – we’ve started paying a living wage and we’ve invested in the Credit Union with their new shop in the town centre.”

The release of the findings comes as part StepChange’s Need to Sleep campaign, which highlights the impact long-term sleeplessness has on people’s well-being and urges them to address the root cause by seeking help with their money problems.

A YouGov survey, conducted on behalf of the charity, found that nearly 470,000 people in the East of England are being kept awake by money worries.

Mike O’Connor, the charity’s chief executive said: “Many people are plagued with severe financial worries that can have a huge impact on their health, relationships and even their ability to simply get a good night’s sleep.

“All too often, people face their debt burden alone, which can worsen the pressure and anxiety they are feeling.

“We would encourage anyone who is struggling with debt to take that first crucial step and seek free, confidential advice from StepChange Debt Charity.”

For more information on StepChange Debt Charity’s Need to Sleep campaign visit www.needtosleep.org.

For more about Christians Against Poverty call 0800 328 0006 or visit www.capuk.org.