UK Wide Debt Advice Charity
Call us at 0800 085 0226
E-mail: contact@debtsupporttrust.org.uk


Students Struggling with Debt

Students are well known for living on a small income and counting the pennies to afford the stereotypical baked beans on toast but recent research suggests students are facing increasingly harder times.

Research from the Bank of Scotland found that 15% of students didn't have enough money to afford their basic living expenses. A further 42% of people at Universities in Scotland were only just managing to pay their monthly living costs.

Any unexpected event which required disposable income would have been impossible for the majority of students.

Leaving University with Debt

After successfully completing and leaving University in 2012, students can often be guaranteed their qualification coupled with a large debt to repay. Only 21% of students expect to finish University with no debt.

The Union TUC has claimed that employment opportunities for young people have not been so disastrous since 1994.

While job hunting is difficult, it can become an added pressure for young people who also have unsecured debt to repay. Almost 40% of students completing their studies in Scotland will have more than £10,000 of unsecured debt to deal with.

In Scotland tuition fees are generally paid by the Government, which means the debt being accrued is not to the University, but to unsecured lenders like banks and credit card agencies.

Advice for Student Debt

Unsecured debt problems are one of the main reasons for stress. Money can cause many restless nights sleep and social problems with friends and family. Seek help before it becomes too severe.

You can get help and advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau face to face or you can telephone Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226 for confidential money advice.

You are under no obligation to follow our advice but we can help you with your creditors enabling you to focus on your studies or job hunting. You can take the first step today by completing our debt analyser form for online debt advice.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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Debt Problems: Where to Turn

A study by insolvency trade body R3 unveiled today that 28% of people living in the north-east believe their personal finances will improve in the next 6 months. The survey captures the negative feeling of people currently living in the UK.

While the North-east of England remains the most optimistic area in the UK for financial improvement, 88% of England, Scotland and Wales believe it will take far longer.

Over a quarter of people believe that the financial problems they face will get worse before they get better, with almost a third of people stating they have no savings left to fall back on should the hard times continue.

Diverse Debt Beliefs

The wide range of opinions surrounding when the personal finance credit crunch will subside are diverse. It means people are unsure how to plan for the future.

Over half of the people surveyed and living in the North-east, despite being the most optimistic region in the UK, are struggling to get to the end of the month. Food and fuel are the primary reasons why people are struggling and for these reasons it's understandable why payday loan companies are flourishing.

Dealing with Debt

People confirmed that they struggled to make ends meet and the cost of living was just too much. This coupled with meeting credit card and personal loan repayments each month, it started to become impossible to manage.

Dealing with debt can be challenging, especially when trying to juggle to costs of everyday life. Mounting debt and increasing interest can make it hard to know what to do for the best.

If you're struggling with debt and can't seem to make your money stretch to cover to essential expenditure and meet your contractual payments then contact a debt advice charity. Our advisors are experts at finding solutions to difficult problems.

Always remember, you are not alone. There are lots of debt charities out there to help you. You can contact Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226 or complete one of our debt analysers for help.


Monday, August 13, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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I am in debt and need help

How do you start the conversation when asking for debt help? It's not something most people think about. But, for many, they are the hardest words to say.

At Debt Support Trust, a registered debt advice charity, we encounter lots of different ways by which people say they need help.

Undoubtedly, the first words are the hardest so some people say, "I am in debt and need help". This enables us to explain what we do and how we do it. Other people prefer to quickly explain what's happened and you can almost feel the weight come off their shoulders just by telling someone about their problem.

As soon as somebody informs Debt Support Trust they are in debt and need help we can get to work on finding the appropriate debt solutions for them. We explain the pros and cons of each solution and what the implications would be for things like your job, house and credit history.

Asking for Debt Help at a Charity

We make it as simple as possible at Debt Support Trust to ask for help. You can email us with a query, complete a debt analyser and ask us to call you back, or pick up the telephone and call 0800 085 0226 to speak with a friendly advisor.

Telephone: 0800 085 0226

Email: contact@debtsupporttrust.org.uk

Debt analyser: analyseyourdebt

The Best way to Ask for Debt Help

There really isn't a best way to ask for debt help, whichever is best for you is the most important fact. When you call, email or complete a debt analyser our debt advisors are trained and ready to listen so we can best help you with your debt problem.  We supply you with the necessary advice to become debt free and if you decide not to take our advice that's entirely your choice. There is no judgement or pressure from anybody.

So, don't worry about what you'll say or how you'll explain it all, because it's a friendly call with the ultimate goal of helping you become debt free.

Most importantly, just get the help you need and don't struggle with debt alone. Debt Support Trust is a registered debt advice charity open from 8am - 7pm Monday to Friday. Everything you tell us is completely confidential; we don't share your information with anybody else without your permission.

They may not be easy words, but "I am in debt and need help" is the start to becoming debt free.

Friday, August 10, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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Fears about Interest Rates

Fears rise that the Bank of England will not cut interest rates, which would reduce lending.

Analysts predict that when the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meets on Thursday, the Bank of England will not cut interest rates to a historic low. Though there has been a worrying slump in lending by banks this will not be enough for them to cut the interest rates.

Figures out for June showed that the number of new mortgages approved were at their lowest level for 18 months and all forms of lending saw the smallest rise for two years. This has created fear that Britain could fall into an unprecedented 'triple-dip' recession.

There is no doubt the MPC will consider the benefits of cutting the interest rates to 0.25 per cent. The recovery seems further away than many people had predicted, and leading economists are warning that if Greek exit from the EU it could put the UK in financial chaos.

If the interest rates are cut analysts are concerned whether this will actually increase lending. Yes, mortgages and loans should be cheaper, however savings would not earn much interest and this could mean saver would be tempted not to bother putting their money into banks, this in turn could reduce the money they have available to lend.

Also a rates cut will reduce lenders existing assets making margins a lot less for them which will also hinder their ability to offer new loans.

UK and euro zone economist at Scotia bank Alan Clarke said 'The poor GDP data makes it hard for the Bank of England not to loosen monetary policy further.)'

'However, we judge that a further reduction in bank rate could backfire and hold back the creation of new mortgages. Hence we suspect that the further policy ease will be in the form of more quantitative easing (QE), not a cut in bank rate.'

The new £80billion 'funding for lending' scheme was aimed at kick-starting bank lending. At their July meeting the bank raised the notion that this could lessen the pressure about the impact of a rate cut.

Economist at Investec Philip Shaw said 'another QE boost was more likely and predicted a further £50billion in November when the current round is completed.

He said: 'we suspect for now the Bank will plough on with its primary stimulus tool, quantitative easing.'

Howard Archer at IHS Global said: 'The MPC indicated in the minutes of their July meeting that they had no plans to bring interest rates down from their current level of 0.5 per cent in the near term at least.'

In the Banks 318 year history if they did reduce the rate to 0.25 per cent it would be the lowest ever.

Home loans in June according to the banks own figures were 44,192 this was down from May which was 50,544 and the lowest level since December 2010.

The level was down 10 per cent on June last year, and they said it was 'exceptionally weak'. Different surveys have shown that consumer confidence is at rock bottom, and there is a big slow down on sales in the high street.

An economist at investment bank Citi Michael Saunders said the data 'looks like a precursor to continued economic stagnation rather than recovery'.


Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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Get Out of Debt Free

When struggling to manage a debt problem, it's not uncommon to ask "How can I get out of debt free".

We explore how you can become debt free and what options exist to minimise the amount of money you have to pay.

Debt Advice

Debt advice can often be free. Many organisations which operate a for-profit debt advice service will ask for a payment for providing debt advice. However, other services exist.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can provide free face to face debt advice. Alternatively, Debt Support Trust provides a free telephone based debt advice service which you can access on 0800 085 0226.

Charities do not charge for their services and will not ask you to make any payments or donations.

The information you provide a charity is free, confidential and impartial, which is why speaking to a charity is often the best solution to a debt problem.


Debt Solutions

While many debt advice charities will offer free debt advice, they will not be able to supply a free debt solution. It's important you are aware that some debt solutions will cost money, however many will not.

Negotiating with creditors

When you negotiate with creditors this is one solution to debt which will not incur a fee or charge. This can be a good option if your unsecured debts, such as credit cards, personal loans and overdraft debts are below £5,000.

Debt Management Plan

There are hundreds of debt management providers in the UK and the majority charge. However, there are some free organisations which will not charge you for setting up a debt management plan. This means you will be debt free quicker.

IVA and Protected Trust Deed

An insolvency solution, like an IVA or Protected Trust Deed (Scotland only) requires a licenced insolvency practitioner. These insolvency practitioners have staff producing proposals and contacting creditors. Any IVA or Trust Deed will come with fees attached. The fees are not paid directly by you, but do come from money which you have repaid each month. This means less money is returned to your creditors because the Insolvency company takes their share from the money first.

Becoming Debt Free Advice

Advice on becoming debt free is available from a free debt advice charity like Debt Support Trust. If you would like debt help, please telephone 0800 085 0226 or complete a confidential debt analyser.


Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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Budgets Squeezed as Food Prices Rise

Consumer group Which? has revealed that 4 in 10 people are choosing to spend less money on food as their financial budgets are squeezed.

Which? found that one household in every ten in the UK owes more than £20,000, with the average debt being around £5,000. It's one of the reasons why people are being forced to cut back on essential items like food.

The Which? survey also revealed people are choosing to remain in the UK instead of going overseas. Six out of ten people are reducing the amount of money they are spending on holidays because they cannot afford it. While people refuse to go on holiday because of the credit crunch they are maintaining their subscriptions to mobile phones, satellite TV and broadband.

As the UK enters a double dip recessions it's thought that this current standard of living has not been felt since the 1920's.

Payday Loans to Survive

The payday loan epidemic supports this problem, as people struggle to survive financially they are turning to payday loans to live day to day. The problem only arises when it becomes impossible to repay the payday loan.

Failing to repay a payday loan on time can lead to increased costs and charges, creating an even greater financial hole.

Food before Debt

We always say at Debt Support Trust you should pay your priority expenditure before you repay your debt. Priority expenditure is not Sky TV, but it does include ensuring you have a roof over your head, council tax, gas and/ or electricity to heat & power your home and food to live.

After you have paid your priority expenditure you can then determine how much money you have left to pay towards your unsecured debt.

Help with Budgeting

If you need help to budget your finances and have debt problems then you can telephone Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226. Our friendly advice team are on hand to support you with your money worries and guide you towards being debt free.



Monday, July 30, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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British Gas Owner Profits Up


British Gas Owner Profits Rise 15%

The owner of British Gas (Centrica) has released their financial results for the first part of the financial year. The operating profit for the company was £1.45 billion.

The British Gas residential energy division had an operating profit of £345 million, up 23%. It's expected the reason for the increase was because of the 'colder than usual' temperatures the UK experienced between April and June.

British Gas: Costs May Go Up

Unfortunately we shouldn't expect the cost of household gas to go down anytime soon. In fact, British Gas is warning that the prices could be on the rise because wholesale gas prices are set to increase.

British Gas Profits in Context

British Gas has achieved profits in their residential energy division of £345 million for the first 6 months. That equates to £22 profit per customer for 6 months, or £3.64 per month.

Over the course of a year £44 profit per customer doesn't seem like a lot. But when it's multiplied out across the 15.8 million British Gas customers you can see how the profits are generated.

British Gas reduced their prices by 5% four months ago but on today's results British Gas is still making £2million every day!

Cost of Fuel

There are millions of people living in the UK in fuel poverty, where they can't or won't fuel their property in fear of the bill that will arrive shortly after. British Gas and other energy suppliers provide support to monitor and manage a person's bill, but knowing a person can't put the heating on because it's too expensive doesn't keep a people warm. It simply means a person won't get into fuel debt.

Steven, 45, contacted Debt Support Trust last week to ask for help with his debts. He explained that on jobseekers allowance he didn't have enough money to feed himself and fuel his house. He was eating cold tinned food and keeping his electricity off as much as possible. When the bill came in, despite keeping his fuel to a minimum, he told a Debt Support Trust volunteer he dreaded opening the letter because he knew he couldn't afford it.

A yearly saving of every £30 would help Steven on his energy fuel bills.

There's no easy answer on resolving the fuel poverty problem. The cost of gas when British Gas purchase it wholesale is too high for some people in the UK, even without the £44 annual profit. It's a fundamental problem which the Government's energy division is no doubt working tirelessly on, but in the meantime, people like Steven will have to wait for an affordable answer, struggling to survive.

Debt Problems and Fuel Costs

Gas and electricity are priority expenditures, along with rent / mortgage, food and council tax. These are all essential to help you live and as a result should be paid first, before any unsecured debt. If you have unsecured debt you should contact a registered charity.

For face to face debt advice contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau who will try and help you save money and support you with your debts. If you would prefer telephone based debt advice and help with your energy bills then you can telephone Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.

Thursday, July 26, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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Struggling with Debt

Many of us find ourselves in a position where we are struggling to repay our debt. The question is what we should do?

Struggling to Manage Debt

The first thing is to prioritise our debt. There are some bills which should be paid first, for example mortgage/ rent, council tax, gas, electricity and food are all examples of priority expenditure which must be paid before even thinking about debt problems.

The next thing to do is to make sure we are not spending excessively. Is sky movies essential or could money be saved by reducing your package? When you look closely at you outgoings you can be surprised at ways in which you can cut your overheads. There are a lot of good deals on at the moment so it may be cost effective to change over some policies, home or car insurance or your gas and electricity supplier.

Another way of cutting cost is shopping once weekly and writing down what you want to buy. This means we do not purchase items that we do not need.

The next thing to do is to look at your debt. What is the minimum payment you have to make? Are you struggling to make this payment every month because the interest has grown too large? If so and you're struggling to manage debt then call Debt Support Trust for advice on 0800 085 0226.

Debt Help for Struggling Debt Problem

Once you have cut your overheads and cut your expenditure if you are still struggling with debt then it's time to seek professional debt help from a registered charity.

Always speak to a registered charity offering free debt advice. The last thing you want to do is to add anymore to your debt.

There are a number of different options out there for people struggling financially though what is best suited to you can only be advised once they have gathered information about you.

A qualified debt advisor would need to know your income and expenditure, the amount of unsecured debt you have. They will also want to know about any assets you may have, including any equity in property. Once this information is gathered they will advise you on the best way to become debt free.

For everybody the advice varies, as your own personnel circumstances have to be taken into account fully and tailored advice should always be provided.

Solutions when Struggling with Debt

It may be that our qualified advisors think you should negotiate with creditors directly. They will give you a letter template to help you do this.

It may be you are suitable for a Debt Management Plan (DMP). If this is the case they will give you details of how to enter a Debt Management Plan for free without paying fees.

The qualified debt advisor may think you are best suited for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), to enter this solution you will need an insolvency practitioner, they can advise you of one or you can choose to find your own.

Bankruptcy may be the best solution, in which case we will help to get the paperwork, explain how to proceed and provide support in completing the documents.

There are a variety of different debt solutions available in the UK and you may be suitable for several of these options. If you are then, you are able to make a decision about which route you take. Ultimately, if you're struggling with debt you may need to speak to somebody for help. Please ensure you contact a registered charity who will not charge you a fee, such as Citizens Advice Bureau or telephone 0800 085 0226 to speak to somebody at Debt Support Trust.

We're here to help.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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“I don’t Have to Pay Anything In Bankruptcy”

True Stories is a new feature on the Debt Support Trust blog. We often speak to people who have misconceptions about debt and the misunderstanding can cause fear and worry. So, we've created our true stories section for common questions we hear at Debt Support Trust, in case other people are worried about the same problems. We never reveal personal details about anyone we help.

True Stories: "I don't have to pay anything if I go bankrupt"

Bankruptcy is associated with people who cannot afford to pay their debt, but it's a misunderstood debt solution because people believe that when you're bankrupt that the debt is "wiped off", you don't have to pay anything and your credit file is damaged.

Most of this is true. The debt you cannot afford to repay will be cleared and your credit file will be damaged for 6 years from the date your default is added. However, you will have to pay something towards the cost of your bankruptcy.

Cost of Bankruptcy

There is a fee to enter bankruptcy depending on the type of solution you are entering. If you are entering a Debt Relief Order then the fee would be £90. The cost for traditional bankruptcy is £700. If you don't qualify for the Debt Relief Order but are unemployed or in receipt of benefits then your fee could be reduced to £525.

The fees are charged as standard to process your application and if necessary, will include a court fee.

Income Payment Order

If you do not qualify for the Debt Relief Order and have entered bankruptcy through a court, then your official receiver in bankruptcy will be in touch shortly after your court date. They will review your finances and determine if you have any spare money each month.

If the official receiver believes you can contribute towards you bankruptcy then you will be asked to do so for three years. State benefits will not be taken into account when assessing how much you should pay towards your bankruptcy.

If you are required to make a payment towards your bankruptcy then this will be reviewed frequently to ensure the payment is still affordable. If you earn extra money, or have a drop in income, you should inform the official receiver immediately.

Bankruptcy can only last for one year before you are discharged however the income payment order will be in place for three years.


If you come into money during the course of your bankruptcy you will be required to pay this towards the official receiver. You will be allowed to keep any money which is leftover after the unsecured debt, along with bankruptcy fees and charges, have been repaid.

Is Bankruptcy the best debt solution for me?

If you are wondering if bankruptcy is the best debt solution for you then contact Debt Support Trust. We are a registered debt advice charity helping people with telephone and internet based debt advice. You can telephone Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012
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OFT given more powers

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) which governs the UK financial services market will be given additional powers from early in 2013.

The new powers supplied to the Office of Fair Trading will ensure they are able to act swiftly in detecting and stopping unregulated or rule breaking consumer credit licence holders.

These new powers have been granted to the OFT as fury grows from the general public and consumer groups that people are poorly protected from greedy and often financially damaging companies.

The present situation

Currently the OFT has the power to retract an organisations consumer credit licence however should a company decide to appeal the decision they are allowed to continue trading for up to two years while the investigation is completed.

The change in the law will help ensure unethical debt management companies and rogue payday loan organisations are closely monitored and stripped of their licence quicker. This ensures vulnerable consumers are protected.

However, the new regulations don't simply stop at payday loan and debt management firms, they will encompass all organisations requiring a consumer credit licence to trade. This will include organisations who lend credit as well as those providing debt collection or debt advice services.

Yes Loans

The credit lending organisation Yes Loans was up until March 2012 offering credit under their consumer credit licence. However, this licence has been suspended following claims the company were charging people up to £70 to apply for credit, which has been revealed they would never be able to obtain.

The company encouraged customers to borrow expensive short term loans instead of the products they originally asked for. Yes Loans also led consumers to believe they were providing the loans directly, whereas they were actually an intermediary.

A step in the right direction

This move is a step in the right direction in the fight to protect consumers.

Consumer Affairs Minister, Norman Lamb said "This move will put a stop to those companies who exploit vulnerable consumers whilst dragging matters through a slow legal process.

It will also give a boost to legitimate businesses, with the swift suspension of unscrupulous traders."

At Debt Support Trust our charity debt advice is provided on an upfront and honest basis. Our role is to ensure you are fully aware of the debt advice options you have and provide you with any support you require. Our trained and friendly team can be telephoned on 0800 085 0226 or you can complete a debt analyser to obtain online debt advice.

Monday, July 23, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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