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UK Wide Debt Advice Charity
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Income going towards paying debt

If you can't make ends meet and need debt advice you should contact Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226 and we will help you with appropriate debt solutions. You can also complete a debt analyser to find out what the right advice should be.

Struggling to survive

For many families they are getting caught in the revolving doors of debt where it is costing them £200 a month just to pay off the debt.

Families are already struggling with ever increasing fuel bills, high inflation and many public sector workers stuck with pay freeze many families are pushed to the limit with credit cards.

Consumer Credit Counselling Services suggested that the typical UK house hold is using a quarter of their monthly income to pay off interest only on their credit cards.

The charity also said there was an increase in mortgage debt by around £20,000 per household; this is because house prices have risen.

CCCS said that older people will be increasingly feeling the pain of debt problems.

There is an increase in demand for debt advice from ages 45-59 from late stage professionals.

A report from CCS said: 'There has been a gradual rise in counselling demand from this group, with its share rising from 22.8 per cent in 2005 to 31.7 per cent by the end of 2011'.

It also said that debt advice will peak in 2014, this shows, the 'lasting distress caused by the financial crisis'.

With deteriorating employment conditions, expensive fuel increases and utilities and housing costs ever increasing households are struggling with their disposable income.

To fill up a typical family car is now costing more than £100.00 each time. As diesel went up yesterday to a record £1.50 a litre.

Another burden on the household finances is interest payments.

'With payment necessary regardless of economic circumstances, they pose a major threat to the solvency of many families.

'As a major spending component that must be met on time, the need to service debt is posing a significant challenge in the current economic downturn when household heads lose their jobs and income sources dry up.'

The low interest rates will have a positive effect for the struggling households though rising unemployment does not help.

The ratio used to be one in every four pounds of disposable income went to service debt however this rate fell to one in every three during the financial crisis as households acquire more debt.

In the second half of 2009 the amount of money going towards interest has been stable and the report predicted it will remain this way in the coming months.

The UK has a high rate of homeownership at 66 per cent of households, in comparison to Germany which has 42 per cent.

'With rising property prices and rising borrowing, mortgage debt has grown in importance compared with other areas of household finances,' the report said.

'This development is evident in the growing share of mortgage debt as a proportion of total household debt. This has risen from 80.3per cent in January 2000 to 86.3per cent by the end of last year.'

In 2005 repossessions of property began to increase, this was an indication that households were starting to get into financial trouble. Repossessions continued to increase until 2009 but have started to get less.

The report said: 'The last two years have seen some easing to about 36,500 but, apart from the middle of the crisis, they remain at the highest level since 2000.'

Interest payments remain a terrible burden on households.

Debt advice: "Can't make ends meet"

If you can't make ends meet with interest and charges mounting then contact Debt Support Trust. We have a range of debt solutions which could help you with your money worries.

Our friendly advisors will listen to your problem, ask about your income and expenditure and recommend appropriate debt solutions. You are under no obligation to take our advice; it's entirely your decision.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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Debt: Debt Management

Debt: Debt Management Plan- Getting Help

This explanation of a debt management plan is designed to help people who have a debt problem and need help. If you would like help and some advice on debt then don't hesitate to contact Debt Support Trust, a registered telephone and internet debt advice charity helping people across the UK.

Debt Support Trust can be contacted on 0800 085 0226 or visit our debt analyser to submit your information and a caring debt advisor will call you back.

Your Debt: Debt Management Plan

Often people can feel ashamed, worried and panicked about their debts. Debt management is one route to resolving a debt problem. For some people, debt management will not be suitable because their disposable income is not large enough or perhaps because the debt management plan would last too long.

We can't promise a fix overnight and we won't tell you it'll be easy but we will be by your side to help you overcome your debt. Debt management is a well known term used within the debt industry; it's on TV, radio, newspapers and even creditors talk about it, but what does Debt Management mean?

Debt: Debt Management explained

Debt management is one debt solution which helps you repay all of the money you owe but over a longer than originally agreed period of time. If every month you are just paying back the interest then how can you get out of debt? It becomes a continuous cycle of paying the interest but getting nowhere.

Roughly 500,000 people are in a debt management plan at any one time in the UK. It's a popular debt solution because it enables you to pay an affordable amount towards your debt each month and repay the money you borrowed.

In a debt management plan the creditors will be asked to freeze interest and charges to make it easier to repay the money you borrowed. There are two types of organisations providing debt management plans for people, for-profit and free debt management companies. We would always recommend using a free debt management organisation.

For-Profit Debt Management

A for profit debt management company will ultimately be focussed on generating profits from the service they provide. As such, the for-profit debt management company will often charge an upfront fee. This upfront fee can be anything from 2 - 5 months of your disposable income. This would mean that potentially your creditors would not be paid for 5 months to enable the for profit debt management company to receive their fee. Each month the for profit debt management company will keep between 12% - 50% of your monthly disposable income. So, if you paid £100 towards your debt, the debt management company would keep up to £50 each month.

In return, the for profit debt management company will manage your debt management plan and distribute your disposable income (minus the fee they keep).

Free Debt Management

A free debt management is provided by one of the select few debt management organisations who are paid to provide free debt management plans by the creditors. This means that if you owe £10,000, you will repay the £10,000 and the free debt management company will be given money by the creditors for collecting in the money. The free debt management companies often received 10% of the money they collect.

A for profit debt management plan will take longer than a free debt management plan because of the additional fees you will pay. Debt Support Trust will help you with a free debt management plan and help you become debt free as safely and quickly as possible.

Debt: Debt Management Points to note

Remember:

  1. The creditors don't have to freeze interest and charges with your debt in a debt management plan
  2. It's an informal debt solution, which means you or the creditors can change the plan at any stage.
  3. It will affect your credit rating because you're not repaying your debt as you said you would.

Debt Help with a Debt Management Plan

Debt Support Trust can provide debt help with a debt management plan. The first stage is for a friendly debt advisor to confirm your income and expenditure. It's also important to consider your assets, like a house or car, so we can explain what would happen with these too.

The debt advisor's role within the charity is to provide you will all of the appropriate debt solutions, explain the pros and cons and help you with whichever solution you choose. You are under no obligation to accept the advice we have offered.

Is Debt Management Right For Me?

If you are wondering whether a debt management plan is the correct solution for you then call Debt Support Trust. Our charity advisors would be more than happy to help you determine whether you are applicable for this debt solution.

You can call Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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Increase of Debt Arrangement Scheme

Uptake on people entering a Debt Arrangement Scheme continues to rise

The number of people opting to enter a Scottish government ran debt arrangement scheme known as DAS which is an alternative to bankruptcy has nearly doubled. The uptake rose from 440 people using this solution in the last three months in 2010 to 878 for the same period in 2011.

Within the same time period people filing for bankruptcy increased by a modest 5% in comparison from 2,501 to 2,615.

Fergus Ewing, Enterprise Minister cited the massive increase as clear evidence of people becoming more aware of the existence of the scheme. Mr Ewing made the statement when visiting Glasgow City Council's Money Advice Centre to launch a campaign publicising the scheme.

The scheme is administered by the government ran Accountant in Bankruptcy (AIB) and is an alternative to bankruptcy for many people who find themselves struggling with unmanageable debts.

Under the debt arrangement scheme all interest and charges are frozen ensuring the level of debt does not continue to rise. The scheme also ensures creditors cannot enforce debt recovery action which in turn safeguards people's homes so long mortgage payments are maintained.

Fergus Ewing commented: "DAS is a way for people who are struggling to pay back their debts, to freeze their interest payments and charges, protect themselves from legal action and give themselves longer to pay. Rather than juggling several payments, they make a single regular payment to one organisation." DAS is the only government backed scheme to do this and it all

ows hard pressed families to take control of the situation before it is too late.
"AiB's recent work to raise awareness of DAS and its benefits for debtors and creditors has been reflected in the recent increase in take-up for the scheme. It offers a sensible option for Scots who are finding it difficult to keep on top of their debts but want to avoid bankruptcy. We have seen a 100% growth in the number of people using the scheme between the third quarter of 2011-2012 and the corresponding period last year. I welcome this increase and would encourage others who are struggling with debts to use the scheme to take control".

Under a DAS arrangement scheme people are allowed to repay their debts over a reasonable period of time. The amount of money repaid towards debts is based on the amount of debt and how much the person can afford after completing an income and expenditure form. Within the scheme creditors will receive at least 90% of their money back over the length of the solution.

Debt Arrangement Scheme Scotland

The Debt Arrangement Scheme is available to people with debt problems and living in Scotland.

For help with a Debt Arrangement Scheme and for debt advice you can contact Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226

 

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Thursday, February 23, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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While the poor struggle, the rich dodge tax

The Rich Make Plans To avoid Higher Rate.

  • The better off are finding ways to 'dodge' the tax on incomes over £150,000
  • George Osborne feels the pressure to scrap the tax band

Labour introduced the 50p tax band and the pressure is now on for George Osborne to scrap it with claims that it makes no extra money.

New figures suggest, the 50p tax band is 'not working' even suggesting that revenues have decreased since it was introduced.

The tax band was placed on the rich who have an income of more than £150, 00; however the figures suggest that the rich are finding ways to get out of making the payments.

January 2012 compared with January 2011 tax returns had dropped more than £500 million; this is from those who do self assessment tax returns. January 2012 was £10.35billion in comparison to January 2011 £10.86billion

George Osborne has been awaiting these figures as they will help prove the usefulness of the tax rate.

January 31st was the deadline for all self assessment forms for year 2010-2011; this was the first full year since the tax has been introduced.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research said it was evidence the 50p tax rate was starting to take effect.

These latest figures will put more pressure on the Coalition government to drop this levy as there are also worries that it is forcing entrepreneurs to work abroad.

Different figures, which were also published yesterday, gave more evidence the rich are trying to avoid paying the tax.

Total income tax was up 2.4 per cent a shockingly small amount in comparison to Corporation tax which was up 9.3 per cent on last January.

These figures suggest that many business executives have decided to pay themselves in dividends or given themselves a big bonus, so they did not lose half their wages to the Inland Revenue.

The accountants Grant Thornton, senior tax partner Mike Warburton; said 'I had one client who took a £10million dividend before 50p tax came into force in April 2010.

'He just said: "That will see me through until it is scrapped".'

Mr Warburton said: 'My own view is that the tax raised by the 50p band is very questionable as to whether it actually raises any additional revenue.

'It is a big concern that it is putting off international business people from investing in this country.

'We need a big sign saying "Open for Business" above the UK but a 50p tax rate is exactly the reverse.'

The Institute of Directors have also heavily criticised the tax the business lobby group, which said it is 'foolish' and 'totally unjustified'.

The treasury insisted in April 2010, that it would be worth up to £2.5billion a year despite being warned it would raise 'little or no tax.'

The latest figures show that there has been tax planning opportunities and accountants will no doubt been advising clients on how best to avoid paying it.

HMRC is currently doing an assessment of how much revenue it actually raises. The Chancellor has always made it clear the 50p tax rate is 'temporary' a source from the treasury said yesterday.

Thursday, February 23, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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SSE Simply Energy

 

SSE simplify maze of energy tariffs to help consumers choose what is best for them

Energy provider SSE has launched an online price comparison tool along with scaled down and simplified tariffs allowing customers to more easily find the cheapest deals. The utilities supplier has greatly reduced the number of tariffs on offer from 68 to 15.

The utility company who provide gas and electricity for consumers through Swalec, Southern Electric and Hydro as well as an online provider called Atlantic are the 2nd largest energy provider in the UK. They claim the new streamlined tariffs are "the most significant change" it had ever made to its range of products.

SSE consumers will be able to select from four core products. It will consist of two fixed price deals, two variables deals with one offering a discount off the standard tariff for customers who are willing to tie in to the tariff for two years.

After other factors are taken into account for paperless billing or free energy usage meters if required etc will result in 15 different tariffs being available in place of the previous 68 that were on offer.

The companies new price comparison tool is claimed to help customers shop around quickly and easily. By entering their postcode customers can see what the cost would be for the average energy user across the four tariffs. They can then further refine the estimated cost by answering questions regarding their usage, meter, payment and billing preferences before finally choosing any additional features they may wish such is green energy options or Argos points.

Generation and supply director for SSE Alistair Phillips-Davies, announced buying energy had become too complex : " Energy customers want choice, but most customers have a straightforward set of requirements and when they look at the products offered by an energy supplier it should be easy for them to find out which is the best for them. In October, SSE committed to end the complexity that surrounds tariffs and significantly reduce the number of tariffs it offers. That is exactly what we are doing and I believe this is the most significant change SSE has ever made to its product range,"

Thursday, February 23, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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Council Workers Debt With Pay Freeze


The Local Government Association confirmed that council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will face a pay freeze for the third consecutive year. The pay freeze will affect 1.6 million local government employees in 2012-2013.

On receiving the news, the GMB union hit out saying it was a "deliberate political choice" which is designed to keep council tax bills down.

The Local Government Association said councils were being left with little choice in the matter as a result of shrinking government funding on a local level in addition to rising costs.

LGA, spokesperson Sarah Messenger said it had been "a very difficult decision to make but it is the right one for council tax payers and the workforce as a whole. Increasing pay would mean more job losses and cuts to the services people need".

She continued: "While the financial outlook for councils is bleak, we are keen to begin discussions with the unions on a package of reform of pay and conditions that may enable us to avoid a fourth year of pay freeze in 2013."

The pay freeze follows an announcement by the chancellor George Osborne in November 2011 that the wider public sector pay freeze with is due to end in 2013 would then be followed by a 1% cap on rises for the next two years.

Local government pay is negotiated separately between the employers and Unions, via the National Joint Council for local government services.

The three key Unions for the sector had asked for a pay rise, especially for the lowest paid employees.

Brian Strutton, GMB national officer has said there may be industrial action over this issue should employers not agree to go to arbitration.

He said: "The politicians who lead local councils are a disgrace to the workforces they employ for offering no pay rise for the third consecutive year while feathering their own nests. Council leaders pay has shot up and councillors vote themselves higher allowances while the carers, dinner ladies, dustmen, social workers, school support staff and all other council workers serving their communities will have seen their pay fall in real terms by over 15%.

Debt Problems For Local Council Employees

It's not surprising that local council employees would face financial hardship as the cost of living continues to rise but their pay remains static. The costs of living in the UK is expensive and sometimes local council employees need debt and money advice too.

The local council or Citizens Advice Bureau provide a face to face service to help people in local communities but sometimes people prefer to ask for debt advice over the telephone.

At Debt Support Trust we provide a confidential route to debt advice. Anybody seeking debt help can call Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.

Debt Problems With Local Council Debts

If you have a local council debt problem, for example with your council tax then we can help you negotiate and arrange token payments. Should you have other debts then we would look at the debt problem as a whole and provide the pros and cons to each of the available debt solutions.

Our volunteers and advisors are friendly and can be contacted for debt advice on 0800 085 0226.

Thursday, February 23, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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TV Advert for Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

Debt Arrangement Scheme TV advert

The Accountant In Bankruptcy (AIB) is responsible for the Scottish debt solution the Debt Arrangement Scheme. The debt solution enables somebody to repay all of their debt over a longer than agreed period of time. The TV advert promotes the Debt Arrangement Scheme which can be provided for free or by a for profit company.

DAS Scotland TV

There is a Debt Arrangement Scheme advert from the Accountant In Bankruptcy (AIB) being shown on STV from the 21 February 2012. The advert explains that a Debt Arrangement Scheme will help you by protecting any property you own, freezing interest and charges. The Debt Arrangement Scheme is a formal debt solution.

Your creditors have to accept your proposal for it to proceed. If your creditors don't accept your proposal then the AiB can apply the Fair and Reasonable test. This test decides whether your proposal is sensible and likely to give the creditors back their money in a reasonable period of time. If it will, then the AiB can overrule your creditors. If your creditors don't vote then they automatically accept your proposal.

Despite the Debt Arrangement Scheme being administered by the Accountant In Bankruptcy, it's not a bankruptcy debt solution in Scotland. The Debt Arrangement Scheme helps you repay your debt over a sensible period of time and get you back on your feet.

Seeking Debt Advice

We would advise anybody looking for Scottish debt help to speak to a free debt advice company which provides a full range of debt advice. In some instances, the Debt Arrangement Scheme which is advertised on TV will be the best option but you should be provided with complete debt advice which covers all available solutions.

Each debt solution will have pros and cons attached to it

Where to get a Debt Arrangement Scheme?

There are lots of places you can get a Debt Arrangement Scheme. As a charity we always recommend the free services. You can pay a company to manage your Debt Arrangement Scheme however this can often cost up to £3,000 over the term of the debt solution.

You can seek debt help by calling Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.

DAS Case Study

Janice who contacted Debt Support Trust was in a debt management plan for her £12,000 debt. She lived in Edinburgh and had been paying her debt for 3 years. When she contacted Debt Support Trust we reviewed her financial situation and it transpired that her debt had climbed to over £15,000. This happened because the debt management company had been taking fees of over £1,000. Also, the interest and charges on some of the debt was not frozen and this continued to increase over the 3 year period.

Janice owned her own house and had equity within the property of over £70,000. She was not aware that in a debt management plan this asset could have been at risk.

If Janice had been placed into a Debt Arrangement scheme then her house would have been protected and the interest and charges would have been frozen. Consequently Janice could have been on the road to becoming debt free with a Debt Arrangement Scheme, instead of accruing more debt.

A Debt Support Trust advisor helped Janice with her debt problem and supported her in getting a Debt Arrangement Scheme set up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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Mortgage debt & Lending

The stamp duty amnesty is about to end and first time buyers are quick to get the deal before this happens this has meant that lending has increased by 10%.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said banks and building society's lent £10.5billion in January; this meant that year on year figures had rose for the last consecutive 6 months.

CML said Januarys figures was due to improved sentiment in the housing market, the figure was 14% less than December due to seasonal factors.

Stamp duty for first time buyers purchasing a property under £250,000 has been free however this is only until the 24th March and the industry believes this is what has boosted sale.

The CML said in January 2011, a total of £9.5billion was lent in mortgages.

Bob Pannell the chief economist for CML said: 'Should inflationary pressures continue to fall back, the squeeze on household finances should ease progressively and help support stronger economic recovery going into the second half of the year.

'This can only be good news for the housing market further down the track.'

Though the recovery seems remarkable, it must be seen in context as to how deep the market had sunk.

Record low mortgage rates were on offer last year and yet the property market froze and people purchasing their homes were at the lowest they had been for 27years.

In 2008 and 2009 the property slump, house prices were falling at 20 per cent annually and yet last year mortgages fell below even when that was happening.

A report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors claimed more new home owners were on the increase and that they believed this was because the stamp duty amnesty was coming to an end.

Though it said many members were optimistic for the coming months: 'Many problems with the market still exist and the lack of affordable mortgage finance is still preventing many from getting onto the property ladder.'

House prices are now registering small yearly falls, but the property market itself still remains bleak, this is because potential buyer are still scared with large deposits required , tight credit checks and fear over the economy.

CML reported that the residential property market fortunes were different from the buy- to- let reporting that land lord mortgages were up 20% last year.

The housing market is not entirely reflected on the mortgage figure. Last year the CML estimated that approximately 40 % of sales were cash buyers. Up from around 15% in 2005.

Some cash buyers are developers, some are older and have equity in their existing property and want to downsize, investors or foreigners.

A recent report from upmarket estate agent Savills believes that people paying for their property with cash could be higher. It claims that 54% of homes are now bought with cash.

Mortgage Debt

Mortgage debt, unlike credit cards and personal loans, is secured against your property. Often people encounter mortgage debt problems because of their unsecured debts. The credit cards, payday loan and personal loans will telephone you more frequently to ask why they haven't been paid. The result mean you don't have enough to pay for your mortgage.

Your mortgage and council tax are just some of your priority debts. These must be paid first. By dealing with your unsecured debts you will in turn resolve your mortgage debt problem. If you would like to speak about a specific debt problem you can contact Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.

If you fail to keep up repayments on your mortgage then it could be repossessed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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British Gas Debt Problem

British Gas Incentive

British Gas have announced a new incentive for people who refer vulnerable family members, friends or neighbours for free loft and cavity insulation from the utility company.

There are certain criteria however for those who qualify for free insulation as they must be on pension credit, certain income related benefits or in receipt of child tax credits and has an income of less than £16,190.

There is however no limit to the amount of people that can be referred and for each person passed to British Gas the company will pay £50 to the referrer. In addition the referred customer will also receive £50 after the insulation has been carried out.

British Gas is offering free insulation to all new and existing customers however, neither the referrer nor the beneficiary need to be a British Gas customer to take advantage of the £50 incentive.

There are other companies offering incentives for people to take up their offer of free insulation with E.ON paying £100 per household, while Southern Electric are giving £25 to anyone taking up their free insulation offer.

Managing director of British Gas New Energy, Jon Kimber, said: "With household budgets stretched we know that people are looking at ways to save money. £1.00 in every £4.00 spent on heating is wasted due to poor insulation, so energy efficiency can have a massive impact."

For any customer who may be interested in taking up the offer from British Gas should call their insulation team on the landline free phone number 0800 975 1195. They will arrange a free survey of the property at a suitable time for the customer. It is essential the call is made by the customer who is considering having installation installed and they should pass over details of the person who referred them to British Gas.

British Gas Debt Problem

If you have a debt problem with British Gas and need our charities help we will be more than happy to help you. If you owe money to a utility company, or any other company, we can help you with debt advice and support.

Our trained, caring debt advice team provide honest and helpful debt advice after reviewing you personal and financial situation.

It's important you continue to pay your gas and electricity when it's due. If you're struggling to manage your money then Debt Support Trust can help on 0800 085 0226.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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Wage Increases For 2012

 

Latest figures released from research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development collated from 1,000 employers indicates the worst of the recession may be behind us.

Economic uncertainly is moderating wage forecasts the report reveals however companies are relatively optimistic they will be able to increase salaries by a mean basic pay rise of approximately 1.7%. This compares to 1.5% in the previous 3 months and an increase on 1.3% this time last year. The latest figures for the last quarter are the highest level of intent to increase wages by employers since spring 2009.

The private sector and in particular manufacturing and production firms are forecasting the highest increases.  Within the private sector, a third of employers reported they predicted a pay rise with the average expected to be 2.2% with manufacturing and production forecasting the highest increases at 2.9%. This is followed closely by the service sector at 2.7%.

30% of the public sector is expected to replace a pay freeze with a 1% cap on wage rises as the government cut backs continue to bite in this sector. However the average increase within this sector is expected to by 0.8%, which is an increase from the previous 0.3%.

Chartered Institute of personnel and Development rewards adviser Charles Cotton said: "While the predicted increases in pay settlements reflects a cautious optimism among members in the private sector that the worst may now be over, uncertainly about how fast the economy will improve is acting to moderate pay forecasts and leading many employers to hedge their bets on the outcome of the final decision."

He continued: "As we move further into the pay round and as organisations get a better idea of how well they and the economy are likely to perform, we should see fewer feeling unable to predict the outcome of their annual pay decisions."

Debt and Wages

If you have debt problems then a wage increase could be just what you're looking for to help pay the bills. The increased cost of living means extra pressure on the purse strings, however there are debt solutions you can enter if you have a severe debt problem.

The applicable debt solutions will depend on where you live in the UK. Debt Support Trust help people across the whole of the UK. The law is different between England, Wales and Northern Ireland compared with Scotland. As such, there are some different debt solutions.

If you live in England, Wales of Northern Ireland a debt management plan, IVA or bankruptcy could help you. If you live in Scotland then a Trust Deed Expert could help with a Protected Trust Deed or even a debt arrangement scheme.

Monday, February 20, 2012
Debt Support Trust
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