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Concern at number of older people sliding into debt

22 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Older People, Pat O'Rawe MLA has said that the recent study by the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) revealing an increasing number of people over 50 sliding into heavy debt was very worrying and that it also emerged that people in their fifties have the worst credit card debt problems.

Ms O'Rawe said

"The study by Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) has exposed a worrying problem that has never really is talked about. The general perception is that young people associated with credit cards and the problem of high debts. But this study has shown older people are sliding into heavy debt after it emerged that people in their 50s have the worst credit card debt problems and in an extreme case one debtor owed a total of £412,000 on 57 credit cards.

"It CCCS study found that those aged 53-59 have the highest outstanding credit card balances while clients in their 60s drove up their balances by one third between 2004 and 2005 - the largest yearly increase of any group. Average outstanding credit card debt of CCCS clients is now a staggering £12,422.

"The problem of debt locally is not helped by the high cost of living here. On top of that people have been receiving their projected rates bills in the last couple of weeks and the threat of water charges is not far away.

"I would encourage anyone who has fallen into debt to seek advice straight away and any one who thinks they may be entitled to help with their rates again to seek help and not to wait until find themselves in financial difficulties." ENDS

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