Record numbers of enquiries were made to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for debt guidance in the final three months of last year, 24% up on the same period in 2008.
Enquiries relating to overdrafts, mortgage and council tax arrears were among the 570,000 debt-related questions relayed to the CAB between 1 October and 31 December 2009.
The figures show the CAB in England and Wales currently deal with 9,500 new debt enquiries every working day.
Overall, the CAB, a charity network set up to help those in financial or legal difficulty, dealt with almost 1.7 million enquiries last year, including more than 500,000 on benefits and redundancy.
CAB chief executive David Harker says the figures suggest many people are still struggling to keep their heads above water and pay essential household bills, relying on overdrafts to meet day-to-day living costs.
"These figures give a stark insight into the human cost of the recession, coming as they do on top of what were already record-breaking enquiry figures for the previous three months," he says.
"We may officially be in recovery, but for many people the damage done by the economic downturn is long-lasting and far from over."
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