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Appeals for help with debts soar

PUBLISHED: 09:26 27 September 2008 | UPDATED: 09:09 13 July 2010

THE global economic crisis is already having an impact in north Norfolk, according to a Citizens Advice Bureau chief.

Staff at North Walsham and District CAB are trying to help increasing numbers of home owners facing imminent repossession and overwhelming debt problems.

THE global economic crisis is already having an impact in north Norfolk, according to a Citizens Advice Bureau chief.

Staff at North Walsham and District CAB are trying to help increasing numbers of homeowners facing imminent repossession and overwhelming debt problems.

Last year, saw a 25pc rise in the number of debt inquiries dealt with by the bureau, according to manager Fiona Hunter.

And numbers are set to rise again this year: "Debt inquiries are the ones which are going up most, but there is also an increase in related problems, like benefits and housing," she said.

"What is so worrying is the knock-on effect - relationship breakdowns, children being moved from school to school; it can have long-term consequences which are quite scary."

Specialist help with debt in Norfolk was "incredibly scarce," she said. There was only one advisor for every 5,500 to 6,000 people with problems, who were not entitled to Legal Aid.

And whereas people used to contact North Walsham CAB six months before their homes were due to be repossessed, they were now phoning only days beforehand.

"There is very little we can do at that stage, except hold their hand," said Ms Hunter.

"It's the same with bailiffs. We're now getting calls saying 'they're on the doorstep'. Our big message to people is to come and see us earlier when, hopefully, we can help and save you a lot of stress."


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