CALLS to a debt charity from people in Ashton-under-Lyne are just the "tip of the iceberg" says Labour's Angela Rayner.
She said:"National Debtline, run by the Money Advice Trust charity, are doing valuable work to help local people struggling to make ends meet.
"Almost 600 people in Ashton-under-Lyne rang them for debt advice in the last year.
"But the figures do not tell the whole story. Thousands of local people are struggling to make ends meet because of David Cameron's austerity. Very often, they are in so much debt they do not know where to turn or cannot get over the stigma associated with debt and are afraid to ask for help.
"But the sooner people seek free advice from a debt charity such as National Debtline the sooner they can get help.”
The charity say making free debt advice should be made a top priority.
A total of 592 calls for help from people in Ashton under Lyne were received by National Debtline, the free advice service run by charity the Money Advice Trust, during 2013 and 2014.
The figure puts the constituency in the top 30% of constituencies in Great Britain for demand for debt advice, with the number of calls from Ashton higher than the national average.
The charity’s Business Debtline service, which advises the self-employed and other small business owners, received 42 calls from businesses in the constituency last year.
Research shows that only 17 percent of people with unmanageable debt in the UK seek advice, so the need for debt help in Ashton under Lyne is likely to be far higher than these figures suggest.
The Money Advice Trust says that higher awareness of free debt advice in and around Ashton under Lyne could “mean the difference between financial recovery and financial disaster” for thousands of people.
After contacting National Debtline, 82 percent of people say they feel more in control and knowledgeable in managing their money.
Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said: "While National Debtline has given nearly 600 advice sessions to people in Ashton under Lyne in the last two years, we know that potentially thousands more are suffering in silence.
“Our message to anyone in Ashton under Lyne who is struggling to cope with problem debt is simple: seek free advice from a debt charity such as National Debtline as soon as possible. The earlier you seek advice, the quicker and easier the problem will be to solve.”
- National Debtline offers free advice via 0808 808 4000 or www.nationaldebtline.org. Its sister service Business Debtline can be contacted via 0800 197 6026 or www.businessdebtline.org