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6 January 2011
Dealing with debt is crucial to reduce record numbers of personal
personal insolvency are starting to decline following a steady
upward trend over the last 10 years says The Insolvency Service.
In 2009 personal insolvency numbers were the highest for 20 years.
In 2010, despite a slight drop, the number of people entering into
formal insolvency procedures remained relatively high, showing that
more needs to be done to encourage people to manage their money
better, and where possible, to avoid insolvency.
Insolvency affects different groups of people in different ways:-
Britain’s pensioners are shown to be the fastest growing group of
bankrupt individuals in the UK. Although levels of bankruptcy among
men and women aged over 65 are the lowest in the UK, the numbers of
bankrupt individuals in this age group have increased six times in a
decade and at a 50% faster rate than for other age groups;
Men still make up the majority of bankrupts (60% in 2009) but the
proportion of women bankrupts is growing (from 29% in 2000, to 40%
The average age of a bankrupt individual in the UK is 41, which is
close to the average age of the population (39.5yrs).
Among women aged over 65, the rate of bankruptcy has grown even more
sharply, over ten times between 2000 and 2009 and in London it is 43
Since they started in April 2009 to the end of September 2010,
30,838 people have taken out Debt Relief Orders, to free them from
unmanageable debt and support them in making a fresh financial
The average age of a person with a Debt Relief Order between April
to December 2009 is 40 years old, which is comparable to that of a
bankrupt for the same period (41 years old).
To encourage more people to deal with their debt, The Insolvency
Service is running a week long event that started on 3 January and
runs until, 8 January 2011 called:-
'Dealing with your
debt'. The campaign is supported by charity sector partners,
Citizens’ Advice, the Consumer Credit Counselling Service and the
Money Advice Trust.
When entering into a personal insolvency procedure more people need
to be aware of where they can go to get free advice and that the
insolvency regime offers them more than just bankruptcy. There are
plenty of reputable organisations that supply debt management advice
Stephen Speed, Chief Executive of The Insolvency Service said:- “Although personal insolvency levels are no longer rising, they
remain stubbornly high, reflecting the high levels of personal debt
that persist across the country. Prevention is much better than cure
as far as personal finances are concerned. Review your personal
finances frequently and make sure you are not taking on debt that
you can’t afford to repay. If you are getting into trouble, act
quickly and seek advice about how to deal with it. There are plenty
of sources of advice, many of which are available free of charge. If
insolvency looms then remember that you have choices. Discuss these
with your adviser and make sure you understand which one is best for
you. The Insolvency Service’s booklet, “In debt? Dealing with your
creditors” provides clear and impartial information that will help
you understand your options.”
The awareness raising campaign aims to encourage individuals with
debt problems to deal with their financial situation responsibly by
knowing where they can obtain free debt advice and understanding the
options available to them if their level of debt is unmanageable.
Adding support to the campaign Citizens Advice Director of Policy,
Teresa Perchard said:- “Post Christmas is a stressful time for
many people who are struggling with their debts. Citizens Advice
Bureaux are seeing more and more people every year who have trouble
making ends meet and covering the most essential household bills.
Money troubles don’t go away by themselves, as the shocking increase
in the number of people seeking bankruptcy shows. The good news is
that free help and advice is available on our
website and trained advisers
in Citizens Advice Bureaux and other money advice agencies can help
you prioritise your debts, negotiate with creditors and provide
advice on a range of debt remedies. We want to help you find a
solution that is right for you. But the key is to get advice early.
If you are at all worried about your finances, don’t delay, get
Una Farrell, from the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, said:- “Dealing with debt is particularly hard as you get older as you
are likely to have limited opportunities to increase your income.
CCCS clients aged 55 and over, have on average, higher debt levels
but lower incomes than overall CCCS clients. The average debt for a
CCCS client over the age of 55 is £25,826 compared to £24,274 for
CCCS clients overall, while the average annual income of a CCCS
client over the age of 55 is £12,920, significantly lower than
£17,316 for CCCS clients overall. It is very difficult to be
struggling financially at a time in your life when you had expected
to be more settled. However, there is free help available for those
who find themselves in this situation. Anyone worried about debt
should seek free advice that is available from a debt charity such
as CCCS, National Debtline or their local Citizens Advice Bureau."
Joanna Elson OBE, Chief Executive of the Money Advice Trust said:-
“The financial difficulties of the last few years have
accelerated a longer term trend of more and more people struggling
with debt. Debt advice charities like ours have had to bring about a
step change in our capacity, not just to help people out of their
immediate debt problems, but also to help them back into financial
health and ensure they have the knowledge to avoid debt problems in
the future. With potential rises in both unemployment and the cost
of credit, 2011 could be a very difficult year for people struggling
with debt. It is vital that anyone grappling with debt problems is
able to make informed decisions and understand all of their options;
the best way to do that is to seek advice from independent experts.
However, our research shows that just one in six people with a debt
problem seek advice – a statistic we hope to change this year. The
good news is that free, independent advice is available, and that
the free-to-client advice sector has successfully developed to meet
the huge growth in demand we have witnessed. We are working closely
with our funders including Government to ensure that this capability
continues to exist through 2011 and beyond. Effective free,
independent money advice is available from a range of organisations
through a variety of different channels including face to face,
telephone and online.”
Are you a poetry champ?
THE search is
on for Merseyside's poetry champions. One poet will represent each
UK town in the National Poetry Anthology, the UK’s biggest free
annual poetry competition. Entry is free and, like all the other
winners, the Southport winner gets a free copy of the book with
their poem in it. One overall winner also receives £1,000.
"The National Poetry Anthology is designed to encourage new writers.
It has rocketed in popularity and we expect the new one to be even
better." said its editor, Peter Quinn. Send three
unpublished poems on any subject (up to 20 lines and 160 words each)
to United Press Ltd, Admail 3735, London EC1B 1JB by the closing
date of 30 June 2011, or visit:-
‘Clatterbridge your cancer centre'
MERSEYTRAVEL staff have chosen ‘Clatterbridge
your cancer centre’ as their corporate charity for 2011.
Each year Merseytravel staff vote for one locally based registered
charity to support throughout the year.
‘Clatterbridge your cancer centre’ is the only charity that
raises funds to directly benefit the patients of Clatterbridge
Centre for Oncology, the leading cancer treatment centre for people
in Merseyside, Cheshire, Lancashire and the Isle of Man.
Every year more than 25,000 patients are referred for treatment to
Clatterbridge and money raised allows the centre to improve the
care, treatment, support and facilities offered, providing many “extras” over and above what the NHS would be expected to
supply. This can make an important difference to a patient and their
Kim Smith Corporate Fundraising Manager at ‘Clatterbridge your
cancer centre’ said:- “We would like to thank the
staff of Merseytravel for choosing us as their charity for 2011. As
so many of our patients come from the Merseyside area, we feel that
this will be an exciting and beneficial partnership and we are all
thrilled at the prospect of working with Merseytravel.”
Councillor Mark Dowd, chair of Merseytravel added:- “For the
past nine years our staff have voted for a good cause to become our
corporate charity and this year we are pleased to be supporting
‘Clatterbridge your cancer centre”
Previous charities supported by Merseytravel are:-
► 2010 Sundowns (Supporting people with down’s syndrome and their
► 2009 Claire House Children’s Hospice
► 2008 CHICS (Children’s Cancer Support Group)
► 2007 Knowsley Family Link (SCOPE)
► 2006 Marie Curie Hospice Liverpool
► 2005 Stick ’n’ Step (Helping children with cerebral palsy)
► 2004 Ronald McDonald House at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
► 2003 St Joseph’s Hospice Thornton
Liverpool praised for
tackling housing challenge
Liverpool City Council is doing to improve housing in the city has
been praised in a new report by the government’s independent
watchdog, the Audit Commission.
The strategic housing service has been ranked as ‘fair’ (one star
out of a possible three) with ‘promising’ prospects for improvement.
The report concludes that housing is a priority for the city
council, and progress is being made improving the choice available
to local people.
It singles out the progress made in clearing obsolete and poor
quality housing stock and improving the choice of new homes, as well
as a reduction in the level of empty properties.
Council Leader Joe Anderson said:- “I am pleased that this
report recognises our work to improve the quality of housing in the
city. We are determined to tackle the many decades of
underinvestment in housing in Liverpool and provide a greater choice
of types and size of properties. The Audit Commission report
vindicates our approach of refurbishing homes whenever possible, and
demolition where it is uneconomic to renovate them. Despite the
government’s decision to axe £27 million from Liverpool’s housing
renewal programme, which has put 1,000 families in limbo, we are in
discussions with developers and pursuing all opportunities for
investment so we can continue the work we have already started.”
Inspectors also found that housing related support is extending
independence to more vulnerable people and the focus on prevention
is reducing the level of homelessness.
The Audit Commission also identified other areas of good practice,
including the ground-breaking work with Liverpool Primary Care Trust
(PCT) on the Healthy Homes Initiative in tackling poor quality
housing in the private rented sector, as well as positive working
with Engage, the leaseholders federation in the city centre. The
private rented sector was identified as an area for improvement.
Riza Yassin, Audit Commission Lead Housing Inspector in the north,
said:- “Economic decline has left Liverpool with major housing
challenges. With the assistance of the housing market renewal
pathfinder, New Heartlands, the Council is addressing these,
particularly in designated regeneration areas. However, more needs
to be done to improve existing housing in the private sector,
especially the private rented sector.”
In March 2010 the Audit Commission assessed New Heartlands, the
Merseyside Housing Market Renewal pathfinder, as performing strongly
(the 'top’ mark).
Police and Greater Manchester Police are working closely in a joint
policing operation surrounding Liverpool FC playing Manchester Utd.
at Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday, 9 January 2010. The
following advice is being offered to fans travelling to the match:-
► Supporters are urged not to travel unless they posses a valid
Anyone arriving at the stadium under the influence of alcohol will
not be allowed inside and risk prosecution
► Drinking in the street is prohibited
► Supporters of both teams will be
allowed to purchase alcohol inside the stadium
► In relation to flags and banners,
providing they are not on poles and do not exceed a size of 2 x 1
metre they will be allowed inside. This is for safety reasons
► It is possible that at the end of the
game Liverpool supporters will be asked to remain in their seats and
after a short delay escorted to their transport
Both Police Forces hope that all supporters enjoy the day.
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