Help in dealing with problem debt

DEBT may be a part of modern life — but for some, it spirals out of control and causes misery and distress.

With the economy struggling through a recession, individuals and families across Scotland are feeling the pressure.

Increases in food prices, utilities and mortgage uncertainty can all lead to debt difficulties — which is why the Scottish government are offering advice to those struggling to make ends meet.

Regardless of the reason for your financial difficulties, the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS), backed by Holyrood, can coach you through it.

Officers there stress that there is no shame in having debt, but that it shouldn’t be ignored as this can make the situation worse.

Those who sign up to the scheme are supported by a money advisor, and debts can be consolidated into one monthly payment — with all interest, fees and charges frozen so that payments go directly towards paying off the bill.

Karen Halford, DAS senior manager, explained: “It’s about empowering people to face up to their debt before they find themselves looking at an uncertain future.

“If you’re eligible for the DAS then we will work with you to set up a debt payment programme. This will allow you to pay back your creditors at a rate you can afford, over a reasonable length of time.

“We know that many people find it difficult to talk about their financial worries but the worst thing you can do is ignore your debt problems.

“It’s important not to sit in silence — so find out more about DAS and take control of your debt”.

Both individuals and couples can repay their debt through the scheme, and an appointment with a money adviser will establish whether you’re eligible or not.

To find out more, visit www.dasscotland.gov.uk or contact your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau — 876 4401 for Glasgow southside and 881 3660 for East Renfrewshire.