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Last Updated: Friday, 16 February 2007, 06:05 GMT
Older males 'have largest debts'
A wallet
Debt has become a particular issue for older men
Older men have the worst debt problems, according to research from a leading debt charity.

The Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) has seen a boom in demand for its services in the past year, with a 65% increase in clients.

It says this is partly because of greater awareness of the help available and an expansion of its own services.

However at the same time, charity Citizens Advice said it had seen a 15% increase in debt cases year-on-year.

Citizens Advice cited higher bills for the surge in people wanting help with debt.

"The combination of people experiencing increases in fuel bills, and rising housing costs puts additional pressure on people's finances which were already stretched to the limit," Teresa Perchard, CAB's director of policy said.

Debt ratio

The CCCS said there had been a rise in the number of elderly people asking for help, with men over 60 owing on average 36,940.

National Debtline: A free, confidential and independent service funded by the Department of Trade and Industry and the credit industry. Tel: 0808 808 4000
Business Debtline: Provides a free telephone debt counselling service for self-employed and small businesses, partly funded by banks. Tel: 0800 197 6026
Consumer Credit Counselling Service: Funded entirely by the credit industry, the service offers advice to people in debt. Tel: 0800 138 1111
Citizens Advice: Offers free, independent and confidential advice from more than 700 locations throughout the UK

That made them the clients with the biggest debts, both in absolute terms and also in relation to their incomes.

Men over 60 had an average ratio of debt to monthly income of 36:1.

When the female clients of the CCCS were taken into account, the age group with the biggest debt problems, regardless of gender, tended to be those between 40 and 59.

Even though they earned the most (an average of 1,453 a month each), they also had the biggest debts, averaging 35,000.

As well as elderly people, other groups seem to have particular need for advice in dealing with their debts.

The CCCS said it had seen more single mothers on low incomes, and aged between 40 and 59, asking for help.

I warn all people who aren't in debt to never be tempted by it as it will ruin your life for a long time
Steven, Southampton

Despite their thrifty reputation, the charity also noted that it had seen a big increase in the number of clients from Yorkshire aged over 60.

The total amount of personal debt in the UK, excluding mortgages, rose by 9% last year to 213bn, according to the Bank of England.

Nearly all indicators of financial stress went up last year.

There were record increases in the number of people becoming insolvent, either through bankruptcy or Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA).

And the number of properties repossessed by mortgage lenders also went up, to levels not seen since the tail-end of the last recession in the 1990s.

Struggling to keep up with the repayments

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