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Wythenshawe in debt

Advice from Manchester City Council (12th April 2004)

We edited this to put the most important points first.

Ask for Manchester Money Advice Team ... 0161 438 1629

What does Money Advice include?

Manchester Advice's Money Advice team can give advice to Manchester residents about their debts, and help people who owe money and are having problems paying it back.

There are various sorts of debt problems, for example: behind with the rent or mortgage, owing money for electricity, gas or water, behind with the council tax, behind with repayments under a Credit Agreement, owing money to a loan shark, owing money to a bank or other lender, owing money for fines, behind with catalogue payments, etc. Often people have more than one debt - we can help people sort out multiple debt problems.

We can help in a number of ways:

  • we can help you sort out your debt problem in the best way for you, and with your agreement
  • we can check your benefits and tax to make sure you are getting all the money that you should
  • we can help arrange for the payments on what you owe to be reduced
  • we can help with court papers and go to court with you
  • we can help you to regain control of your finances

We won't make any judgment about why you are in debt. Our job is to help sort out the problem, however the debts arose.

If you have more than one debt and live in Manchester, call our Debtline on 0161 234 5678, Monday to Friday 1.30pm - 4.00pm. You can also contact the Money Advice Service, Citizens' Advice Bureaux or advice agencies for advice.

Manchester Advice's Money Advice Service advises:

  • don't panic or ignore the problem
  • seek impartial advice
  • work out a realistic budget
  • check if you can claim benefits or tax credits, as new claims, or to reduce any overpayments you have received
  • prioritise your debts - like mortgage, loans secured on your home, rent, council tax, water or fuel, which are essential
  • card debts and loans not secured on your home are lower priority. Divide what you can afford to repay equally between them
  • contact those whom you owe money - they may be able to help
  • only agree to pay off debts at a rate you can afford
  • keep copies of all letters you send and receive about your debts

Many local people are struggling with increasingly high personal debts, or with bills which are hard to pay. The average household now owes about £7,000 on credit cards and personal loans.

The mounting pressures won't go away, so please don't bury your head in the sand by ignoring bills. There is free confidential advice at hand to help you sort out your debt problems. And a checklist of actions to take is given below.

Citizens' Advice, the Office of Fair Trading, the Governor of the Bank of England and the Government have all expressed concerns about widespread individual debt. They are also concerned about high interest loans advertised on TV, with major charges, and about doorstep lenders and 'loan sharks'.

Now Coronation Street star Sue Cleaver, who plays in-debt Eileen Grimshaw, has lent her support to a campaign to help people tackle their debts.

The sooner the better - tackle your debt today

Debts left unchecked are debts that will grow and grow. Why pay out hundreds of pounds of your hard earned cash, paying interest to a faceless bank or a stranger - that money would be better off in your pocket. The faster you get rid of your debt, the faster you can save for the big things you need, and spend the money you were giving away in interest payments.

Debt not only affects your financial health, but it can affect your whole wellbeing - there are numerous benefits and reasons why you should get your debt problem sorted now.

Don't be embarrassed

Most people get in to debt sometime in their lives - even the smartest people. The people you will talk to, that can help you get out of debt, will have been in some kind of debt in their own lives too - so don't be embarrassed; we've all been there.

Recovering yourself from debt is not impossible - the practical steps you can take are simple to follow. We will detail as much advice here as we can - and we will keep updating it.

Get advice from several places

  • Money Advice Team ... 0161 438 1629
  • Debtline ... 0161 234 5678
  • Citizens' Advice Bureaux (CAB)
  • Benefits Agency
  • Tax Office
  • Credit card company or bank


Citizens' Advice Bureaux
0161 499 3121

Maximise your income - it's economics - what comes in minus what goes out

Are there benefits you are not claiming, or could you claim tax credits (you'd be surprised how many people do not claim what they are legally entitled to).

If you are working, do you have the correct tax code.

Minimise your outgoings - it's economics - what comes in minus what goes out

Your debts won't last forever, but while you have them it's time to curb your spending. If money is coming in, then there is only one place it has gone - that's out.

Look at what your are spending each day, week, month and divide it up in to vital and could do without.

Don't ignore the problem - do the opposite

Write to the people you owe money to - tell them you have a problem - tell them how much you can afford to pay. People are always happy to hear from someone who is willing to pay something, rather than dealing with someone who ignores them (which will only lead to a worse outcome). The sooner you do this, the better you will feel straight away.

TIP: Obviously it is in your interest to offer to pay as much as you can, as fast as you can, but be realistic - don't offer to pay an amount that leaves you insufficient to live on.

Shop around for lower interest rates

It is true that many people simply don't get the lowest interest rate available - now you are in debt it is time to think about this seriously. If your debt is on a credit card, or loan, think about transferring your balance to another lower interest rate card, or loan. Many cards have a much reduced interest rate on transferred balances.

The interest on debts is the biggest problem with debt. If you only have one debt (i.e. one interest rate to worry about) then think about moving the debt to a lower interest rate. For example, if it is a credit card debt.

Ask for advice about this from Citizens' Advice and anyone else.

Read the small print and don't spend any more on credit cards. Cutting up your cards is a good step, but you should at least cut all except one.

You should pay off the debt with the biggest debt with the highest interest first. Get help to work out the debts you should pay off first. If you have a loan, or credit card debt the interest is the thing that is the main problem.

Can your family help?

Family are always willing to lend a helping hand much earlier than you'd think - don't leave it until the problem gets out of hand. The sooner you ask for help, the easier it will be for them to help. Mention your problem as soon as you can. One day they may need your help.

Even if all they can just offer you is emotional or practical support - like running you to the Citizens' Advice, it's help worth having.

Illegal interest rates / loan sharks / private lenders

If you have borrowed money from a company that sends someone to your door each week, this is something you should get out of as soon as possible. Most likely you are paying far too much interest.


Employers want your wages to go in to your pockets, not in some bank's pockets. Ask your employer about any help they can offer you. If you are a member of a union, ask your representative.






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