Struggles with household bills on the rise for residents, says CAB

Jean Booth, gateway assessor at Eastbourne CAB SUS-160806-094234001
Jean Booth, gateway assessor at Eastbourne CAB SUS-160806-094234001

More people are seeking help for essential household bills - such as rent, council tax and fuel - than consumer credit debts, according to Citizens Advice Eastbourne.

Citizens Advice is reporting a shift in the type of debt problems it helps people with.

Latest figures show more people are seeking help with rent, council tax, fuel and water debts while consumer credit problems - such as personal loans and credit card bills - are in decline.

The number of household debt problems Citizens Advice Eastbourne has helped people with has increased from 495 during 2014-15 compared to 819 in 2015-16.

Citizens Advice Eastbourne finds problems with council tax increasing from 171 to 26 and debt issues with credit card debt increasing from 176 to 213

Citizens Advice Eastbourne says the priority should always be to pay off household bills first, otherwise people risk further financial and emotional hardship.

By not prioritising household bills, Citizens Advice warns people are placing themselves at greater risk of eviction, visits from bailiffs, being cut off from energy supplies and even prison.

New evidence from national Citizens Advice finds that more than a quarter of adults (28 per cent) nationally would prioritise consumer credit debts ahead of household bills.

Alan Bruzon, CEO at Citizens Advice Eastbourne said, “Falling behind on household bills can have serious consequences.

“From getting the power cut off to bailiffs knocking at your door, to losing your home or even prison - failing to pay household bills can put people in vulnerable situations.

“Huge numbers of people are unsure of what debts they should prioritise when they get into difficulties so it’s important people in Eastbourne know where to go to get help with their finances.

“If you are struggling Citizens Advice Eastbourne can help.”

Citizens Advice is a national organisation which provides free advice on a number of issues. Debt and money worries ae just one of the many areas the charity advises on.

Nationally, there has been a major increase in the number of household debt problems Citizens Advice helps people with.

In the last year, 43 per cent of the debt issues Citizens Advice helped with related to essential household bills – this equates to 567,000 issues – and compares to 34 per cent five years ago (452,000 issues).

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