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Poverty group says average debt is £11,581
The reality faced by people plagued by debt has been revealed by Bradford-based debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty which has released a report showing the effects of living with the private hell of personal debt.
And in Yorkshire, the average debt the charity tackled in 2012 was £11,581 – more than many of the clients earned in a whole year.
The Bradford headquarters of the charity, which partners the care of the local church, is handling £73.9 million of secondary debt on behalf of its clients.
The organisation, which has 21 church-based centres across Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, offers a lifeline to more than 1,000 clients in financial crisis each year. Its main findings are that the four main causes for debt across the UK are unemployment, low income, relationship breakdown and problems with budgeting.
Figures for the region show that before they called CAP for help, a quarter of people were regularly missing meals, while four in ten were on prescription medication to help them cope with the stress.
Worse still, 67 per cent said they were unable to either feed or clothe their children and more than a third were even considering suicide.
Figures for Bradford have not been released, but Mark Kay, of Thackley, said that CAP sorted his life out when it was a mess financially. He heard about it through his stepson, who had also used them.
Mr Kay said: “I was working and you get loans and credit cards but then I lost my job and I couldn’t afford to pay them back,” he said.
“We paid some off and left others. We paid them off rather then buying food. It was a living nightmare.
“We had sleepless nights, my wife and I were arguing over whether to pay debts or buy food. Once sorted, it made our lives a lot better and happier.”
CAP centre manager Steve Hulbert said:“These statistics show the reality that people in debt face every day and it’s a grim picture.
“Debt doesn’t just concern your bank balance – it can rob you of your health, your marriage, your ability to care for your family”
For more information about CAP visit capuk.org or for help call 0800 328 0006.