Monday, January 01, 2007

The Christmas Hang Over

With satellite television carrying a near constant barrage of debt-relief advertising, Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Thanet South, Laura Sandys urges families in debt to get help in the New Year.

“If debt has mounted up over Christmas, I urge people to contact the range of organisations that can help them get out of debt, and not enter new arrangements that will merely increase the debt.” Said Laura Sandys who has made debt relief one of her key issues since being selected as Conservative Parliamentary Spokesperson for South Thanet.

“While many will be recovering from overindulgence from food and drink there are some in Thanet that will be facing a much longer term hang over from Christmas – that of debt. In Thanet, as across the country, people are encouraged before Christmas to take out store card loans and loans from home credit companies. It is after Christmas when the illegal lenders – loan sharks - then target those who are unable to meet their repayments.”

“With over 7 million people in the UK facing debt problems, personal debt is one of the most serious social problems facing the UK today” said Laura Sandys. “It is in the next few weeks that many families in Thanet will be feeling the pinch. It is exactly at this time when illegal lenders will be pushing their loans on the most vulnerable – offering immediate cash at rates ranging from 100% - 400%. “

Debt not only creates financial vulnerability but also causes significant social problems. 10 million people suffer relationship problems because of debt, with financial difficulties contributing in some instances to divorce, crime and drug dependency. “I am committed to campaign to secure greater safeguards for people on the lowest incomes and severely punish those who exploit the financially vulnerable for their own ends.”

“There are several organisations that can help people in debt and Thanet District Council has been running debt advisory meetings as well. With Britain’s debt increasing by £1million every 4 minutes, I am calling for the Government to crack down on illegal loan sharks that prey on the most financially vulnerable and improve financial education in schools so that our children don’t fall into the debt trap,” stated Laura.

Organisations that offer advice in Thanet include:

* Citizens Advice Bureau: 01843 225973
* Consumer Credit Counselling Service: 0800 652 0775.


Steamhammer said...

The organisations (they are actually companies) that claim to help people in debt on satellite TV are just loan companies.They take advantage of people whose loan payments and credit cards leave them little to live on. I phoned one many years ago and the operative that I spoke to was a slippery individual indeed. He would not discuss an interest rate , or a term and he kept plying the line that they were going to help me but only if I rang them back within 1 hour - it was a one off offer that I shouldn't miss etc.. They try to look more credible by using personalities (ex cricketers,crossword champions etc) but do not be taken in ! Consumer debt is now a huge industry and they use all manner of sneaky tactics to get people further and further into debt. I have been there and learned my lesson. Consumer credit counselling service is the real deal and it is even a free phone call.

Anonymous said...

That is applicable to Loan companies, not companies offering to settle by way of an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). This is an alternative to bankrupcy providing you're able to meet repayments. Each creditor gets an agreed amount providing a percentage of them agree to the IVA. So one creditor may not agree but maybe forced into the position of accepting it's terms. The company negotiate repayment terms with creditors. Now that said it is cheaper to go the route of IVAs via Citizens Advice or the Consumer Credit Counselling Service who offer a fee free service. I suggest you visit Martin Lewis' excellent website at for all your money saving tips and the Debt Free Wannabe discussion forum which offers first class advice from people who have been in debt, or are in debt and need advice at
I am glad to say that whilst I was £30K in unsecured debt last year I cleared £18,000 by selling two endowment policies not linked to my mortgage, increased my income by £10K p.a. to over £30K by getting a different job and got back to paying what is owed on the outstanding amount of £12K on one remaining credit card. I now have around £380 pcm to play with after expenses to put in my savings pot:)

Anonymous said...

A story of two debtors. One, my son-in-law, has £44,000 of unsecured debt; the other his brother-in-law had approx £40,000 of unsecured debt.

Since October I have been acting as a debt advisor for my son-in-law and have been attempting to stave off CCJs; get interest suspended and get paid off store cards as a priority (36.9% APR was the worst!). Things are under control now but just about and my son-in-law and daughter and young family of two children aged 6 and 3 are able to just about survive and keep their house but will have a tough time for the next few years as they repay this debt.

The other debtor, who rents a house and has a wife and 2 children to support has walked away from his debts by going into personal bankruptcy. The two debtors concerned have the same occupation and very similar incomes.

The moral of the story is that if you have nothing to lose (no assets) you can walk away from your debt and many are doing so, without a qualm. So rent, spend your money and other peoples, live your life to the full and make no provision for your old age, because you will be no worse off in the long run; in fact you will be better off!

Steamhammer said...

anonymous 11:14 - I doubt you will find a "company" on satellite TV who will arrange an IVA - they will do you a nice long loan though! It is too easy to be taken in by the window dressing of having carol vorderman saying how marvellous they are! CCCS is a registered charity which is non profit making - they will help wherever they can. Citizens advice is also an excellent service which is there to genuinely help people and not to take a slice out of their poorly finances.

Anonymous said...

Nice photo. It looks like a small child is punching her, perhaps saying "stop stating the obvious again".

Anonymous said...

How can Ms Sandys be a "Parliamentary Spokesman"? She is not elected to Parliament. She does not work there. She has no access to Parliament. She has no representative rights on behalf of the people of Thanet South. Surely she is just a Prospective Tory Parliamentary Candidate.

DrMoores said...

Good question.. perhaps she will read and reply!?

Anonymous said...

Steamhammer, I haven't seen carol Vorderman advertize IVAs. A company can't advertize IVAs and sell you a loan dressed up as an IVA. The FSA would be straight on their case.

Rob Smith said...

Laura Sandys is the Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for South Thanet. When the constituency boundaries change this spring Laura will be the Parliamentary Candidate for the (new) South Thanet Constituency.

Steamhammer said...

"A company can't advertize IVAs and sell you a loan dressed up as an IVA" I totally agree and I think they are very careful about their wording but they also don't say - we will give you a loan to help you escape from your plight! Companies seeking to arrange IVA's for folk are not going to do it because it gives them a warm feeling in their heart , that's all I am saying. A non profit making organisation is a far better option.