Debt problems on the rise in Eastwood

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Eastwood may have a reputation for good schools and ever-rising house prices — but household debt is an increasing problem, according to charity StepChange.

Figures from the debt charity show a 73 per cent increase in the number of calls from people in the area between 2012 and 2014. This compares to a 70% increase in clients across Scotland over the same period — suggesting that debt may be creeping up on East Ren residents.

With an average £23,500 owed on credit cards and other consumer debts — and research indicating that 50% of people struggle for more than a year before asking for advice — the message is seek help before the problem spirals out of control.

Sharon Bell, head of StepChange Scotland, said: “Problem debt is often the result of a negative change in circumstances. Unemployment, reduced income or ill health can happen to anyone so it is really important people hear about the free debt help available.

“If you are borrowing to cover household bills or stuck in a cycle of minimum payments, the time to act is now.”

The charity’s campaign has the backing of Eastwood MSP Stewart Maxwell, who told The Extra: “A quarter of clients in Eastwood have fallen behind on essential living costs such as housing, council tax and energy bills.

“It’s important to know that if you are struggling to make ends meet, expert debt advice can help, and I would encourage anyone struggling to seek free, charity-run debt advice.”

Find out more by calling StepChange on 0800 138 1111 or visit www.stepchange.org.

East Renfrewshire Council also offers financial advice on 577 8420 or at money@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk.