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CAB sees 51% surge in calls over loan arrears

Citizens Advice Bureau figures show a 51 per cent increase in mortgage and secured loan enquiries for July to September compared with last year.

CAB says it got 21,656 requests for advice on mortgage and secured loan arrears between July and September compared with 14,349 between July and September 2007.

Year on year, there has been a 35 per cent increase in mortgage and secured loan arrears cases, with 77,324 new enquiries since October 2007.

Over half of those seeking advice are aged between 35 and 49. Just under half were people with dependent children and one in five were single parents with dependent children.

Thirteen per cent are disabled and 10 per cent have a long-term health problem.

The Citizens Advice Bureau also reports a 4 per cent fall in the number of cre-dit, store and charge card debts and unsecured personal loan debts although combined this still represents the biggest type of debt that the CAB sees at 35 per cent of all the debt problems handled.

Chief executive David Har-ker says: “While we are pleased to see the number of consumer credit problems going down, the increase in the number of enquiries about basic essentials is worrying and these figures show how the current economic situation is hitting vulnerable and low-income households the hardest.

“To prevent the situation worsening, it is vital that mortgage lenders and fuel companies do everything in their power to help people in arr- ears to come to a workable solution over repayment arrangements rather than piling on extra charges.”

Harker says creditors must “treat borrowers in arrears fairly and sympathetically, negotiate with borrowers in trouble and only use court action for mortgage arrears as a last resort”.

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