Consumer debt problems dealt with by Citizens Advice bureaux have increased by 74% in the past seven years, leading the charity to call for reforms to be included in the Queen's Speech.
Figures from the charity suggest there were 706,700 cases of consumer debt issues dealt with in its bureaux in 2003/4 against 405,800 cases in 1996/7.
The number of all debt-related cases hit nearly 1.1 million last year, but consumer debt cases increased more than any other kind - by 35,000 last year alone.
This has led to a call for reform of Britain’s outdated consumer credit laws to be included in the Queen’s Speech expected next month.
The figures mean Consumer debt - which includes credit card debt, store-financed consumer purchases, car loans and personal loans - accounted for two-thirds of all debt-related issues last year.
Citizens Advice chief executive David Harker says: “Citizens Advice has been warning for a number of years that the problem of personal debt is reaching crisis levels and the fact that the number of consumer debt problems brought to us has risen significantly yet again underlines this warning.”
Harker says he welcomes government efforts for a new strategy dealing with record levels of personal debt, but still urges the issue be pushed ahead by being placed higher up the government's agenda.
CA research suggests 6.5 million adults in England and Wales had life problems that went unresolved last year through no help being received.
The charity’s annual report The Charity for your Community reveals that total case-load figures for new problems dealt with by bureaux in 2003/4 "held steady" at just over 5.6 million.
Welfare benefits issues increased by 3%, or 54,500 cases to 1.7 million, while bureaux also dealt with nearly 1.2 million consumer and utilities cases.IFAonline
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