By Melanie Taylor
Debt advice played an important part in the Chancellors Pre-Budget report, revealing just how important the Government thinks it is for people with debt problems to seek debt advice earlier, rather than later.
On direct.gov.uk, the section Debt advice services is one of only three sections on the helping people in financial difficulty page. The section states that: The government is committed to ensuring that any family facing debts which they cant manage can access free impartial debt advice to help them get back on track.
It also says that The Pre-Budget Report announced additional government funding of 5.85 million for an extension of telephone advice services, and 10 million to extend face-to-face advice services, to ensure everyone has access to free debt advice when they need it.
Whatever the economic climate, debts can always be a problem if the borrower cant keep up with the repayments. In other words, debt advice always has an important role to play, helping people learn to budget, negotiate with their lenders, plan ahead and one day get out of debt altogether.
At a time like this, however, with the threat of deflation hanging over the economy and the threat of unemployment hanging over many individuals debt advice is more vital than ever. Already, borrowers everywhere are finding their budgets stretched to the limit: any decrease in their income could easily push them over the limit.
In other words, now is for many people the time to start really working on paying off their debts. Some people, like bankers and estate agents, were hit by the economic troubles last year. Others are worried about their job security in the near future. Still others are working in industries which so far dont seem to have been hit by the countrys economic problems, but which could be eventually. But whether theyre worried about coping with a lower income in six months or in two years, their debt could be much easier to deal with if they can pay off as much as possible in the meantime!
Which explains why the Government is spending over 15 million extra to ensure people can access the debt advice they need. However, the Government-funded services are by no means the only ones providing debt advice. Various companies also provide free debt advice and debt help.
Many of those companies also provide websites that contain all kinds of debt advice. This kind of online debt advice can be helpful, providing people in debt with anything from do-it-yourself guides and budget forms to useful addresses and phone numbers.
Even so, its no substitute for the personalised, back-and-forth debt advice that can only come over the phone or face-to-face. Basically, everyones debt problems are different, and the best way of tackling them is to talk to someone who knows what questions to ask so they can build up a complete picture of their debt situation and advise them on the best course of action, whether that means a professional debt solution or just a few lifestyle changes.
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