Media comment: People's debt decisions putting them at risk

Wednesday 8th June 2016

Caroline Siarkiewicz, Head of UK Debt Advice for the Money Advice Service comments on Citizens Advice press release: People putting themselves at risk by debt decisions

“The report highlights that people in debt should prioritise their bills. The consequences of not doing so can be dire and escalate the seriousness of existing debt problems. Falling behind on priority bills, such as household bills and mortgage and rent can lead to people being cut off from essential services and even losing their homes. Amongst the clients helped by Money Advice Service funded organisations, falling behind on priority bills was a common problem, including 31% of people reporting they had rent or mortgage arrears.

“Given the importance of people prioritising their debts properly, a breathing space scheme linked to debt advice would be beneficial. This would ensure that people are supported to look at their financial situation as a whole, rather than just react to the most persistent creditors.

“We would also encourage anyone dealing with financial difficulties to talk to a debt adviser. Free and impartial debt advice is easy to find and can help people get their finances back on track. The Debt Advice Locator Tool directs people to the free debt advice available in their area – which can be delivered face to face, online or over the phone. In addition we also provide advice on how to prioritise debts on the Money Advice Service website.”