The total amount of Unsecured (Consumer Credit) lending stood at £207 billion at the end of December 2011, which is down from £216 billion at the end of December 2010 according to the latest figures from Credit Action.
The last week has seen chocolatier Thorntons joined by TJ Hughes and Jane Norman issue a triple dose of bad news for the high street. Whilst Thorntons announced plans to close 180 shops, TJ Hughes and Jane Norman are entering administration. These announcements could result in up to 6000 job losses and yet more empty units appearing in what used to be bustling town centres. With HMV, JJB Sports and Mothercare amongst others also planning drastic reductions in store numbers it appears that whilst there has been many positive signs over the last few months that many more people are on the brink of financial hardship.
A BBC investigation has uncovered at least two out of business firms – Apex Debt Counselling & Management and Global Debt Solutions – had been holding on to payment installments for much longer than they are allowed.
According to BBC News, economic problems in the UK may be fuelling a rise in the use of anti-depressants. Data obtained by the broadcaster revealed that prescriptions for drugs, such as Prozac, have increased by 40 per cent over the past four years.
Both GPs and charities have claimed they have seen an increase in people contacting them as they are worried about their finances or job security. People who find themselves in financial trouble have many debt solutions available to them. One such solution could be a debt consolidation loan, which lumps all outstanding payments into affordable, monthly repayments. However, if someone has a poor credit rating they may not be able to obtain a loan.
Another option could be an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), which is a formal agreement between a debtor and their creditors where both parties agree on monthly repayments that the debtor can afford and if the whole amount owed is not paid off within an agreed term, usually five years, the debt is written off. This arrangement is reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that if a debtors circumstances change the IVA changes to accommodate this.
Lee Schofield of Ashley Park Debt Solutions said “ Many people will struggle to admit they have a problem
With their debts and will not seek help until the situation becomes a lot worse and can no longer be ignored.”