Page last updated at 13:48 GMT, Monday, 29 December 2008

Debt advice demand 'increasing'

Wallet and cash
People in serious debt have been urged to seek assistance immediately

Demand for assistance from a UK government-funded debt advice service rose by more than 40% in a year, figures show.

The number of calls to the National Debtline increased from about 16,000 a month a year ago to 23,000 in November.

The trend is a fresh sign of how the global financial crisis has started to bite into family finances as some suffer under a burden of debt.

Demand for a business debt advice doubled over the same period.

Paul Mullins, chief executive of the National Debtline, said the numbers helped by the service because they were in arrears on mortgage or secured loan repayments had risen by 30%.

Consumer minister Gareth Thomas said that the government was increasing funding for the service and urged struggling consumers to use the telephone helpline.

"It is imperative that when people are struggling with debt, they seek assistance as soon as possible," he said.

"There are a wide range of organisations who provide expert advice and can really make a difference when it comes to resolving debt problems."

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