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Two out of ten still paying for Christmas 2006 - McLaughlin

2 November, 2007

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (South Antrim) has said that a survey by a price comparison website which found that two out of ten people using credit cards are still paying for Christmas 2006 highlights the need for more awareness around the subject of seasonal debt and its impact throughout the rest of the year.

Mitchel McLaughlin said:

"Just this week the Irish League of Credit Unions warned that personal debt levels in the North of Ireland are spiralling out of control. This latest survey by a price comparison website highlights once again the problem around seasonal debt and the accumulated impact that it has long-term.

"The survey found that 41% of consumers used credit cards to buy presents and food in 2006 and just 29% managed to clear those debts when their bills arrived in January. It also found that just over 17% of people who used their credit card to pay for Christmas in 2006 have still not cleared their bills.

"These figures show how much impact personal debt is having on many people and is just a sample of what the true figure may be. People are being bombarded with junk mail from the credit card companies on a daily basis offering a whole range of deals and many times customers are left unsure as to what exactly they have signed up to.

""The information age, while having many positive aspects, unfortunately makes spending money all too easy. Credit cards may seem like an endless source of money at Christmas when people feel under pressure but at the end of the day that money has to be repaid.

"It is clear that many people are in way over their heads with the amount of debt they are taking on and this is something we must continue to highlight to bring pressure the banks, credit card and lending agencies to act more responsibility when promoting credit availability." ENDS

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