Citizens’ advice managers in Wales are warning the “true human cost” of the recession has yet to materialise after debt inquiries rose by almost 20%. The charities 32 offices in Wales dealt with 111,339 debt inquiries in the 12 months to April 2009, a rise of 19%. CAB Cymru director Fran Targett said previous recessions showed a lag before the number of debt advice calls peaked. More recent figures suggested a “spike” in problems with mortgages, loans, fuel debt and bailiffs, she said. The service, which operates from 200 locations in Wales, overall inquiries rose by 11% on the previous year to 298,119 in the 12 months to April 2009.
More than thirds of these we related to debt, with benefits and tax credit problems rising 11% to 97,803 and employment-related problems increasing by 17% to 22,262. Problems with mortgage and secured loans increased by 57% as did problems with private bailiffs. Fuel debt problems also increased by 31%. Within the benefits portfolio, problems with Job Seekers Allowance increased by 61%. Within the employment portfolio there was a 124% increase with redundancy-related problems.