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Low-income families struggling with debt

28 February, 2007

Sinn Féin Foyle Assembly election candidate Martina Anderson has said that a growing number of people are seeking help with their debt problems and that this highlights the worrying extent of personal debt.

Ms Anderson also said and that the added expenditure of imposed water charges and increased domestic rates will only add to that burden.

Ms Anderson said:

"Indebted households are particularly vulnerable to interest rates and unexpected rent increases. Low-income families can easily fall into debt because they often have little or no savings that would enable them to cope with unexpected costs. It is families on low incomes struggling to bring up children that most frequently get into financial difficulty.

"We already have the worst poverty figures anywhere in Britain or Ireland. In the last few weeks I have talked to countless people on the doorstep and the harsh reality is that many families in Derry are living from week to week and that even ten or twenty pounds extra expenditure can put a serious strain on the family budget.

"This underlines the reality that many people are surviving on inadequate incomes, have little or no savings and are therefore at high risk of falling into debt.

"The added expenditure of imposed water charges and increased domestic rate bills will only add to that burden.

"It is because of the failed policies of British Ministers the North of Ireland has lower wage levels, higher levels of family and child poverty and higher levels of inequality, disability and illness. As well as having to endure a higher cost of living people earn on average 20% less in the North than they do in Britain.

"We have to ensure that people are put before profit and we should not allow the British Government to blame the people for not having adequate incomes, for being unemployed or for families and children having to live in poverty and debt." ENDS

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