FENLAND:Most asked question at Citizen's Advice Bureau? How do I go bankrupt?
By ADAM LAZZARI INCREASING numbers of debt-ridden Fenland residents are seeking bankruptcy. Linda Hutchinson, manager of Fenland Citizen s Advice Bureau, said: Every day people ask me, how do I become bankrupt? It s one of the most common questions we
By ADAM LAZZARI
INCREASING numbers of debt-ridden Fenland residents are seeking bankruptcy.
Linda Hutchinson, manager of Fenland Citizen's Advice Bureau, said: "Every day people ask me, 'how do I become bankrupt?' It's one of the most common questions we get.
"It's a very worrying that more people think that bankruptcy is the easy way out, because it's not."
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Anyone declared bankrupt will not be able to get a mortgage, credit card or loan and may have difficulty securing some jobs.
Mrs Hutchinson said some of her staff members are training to advise people on Debt Relief Orders.
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She said: "A Debt Relief Order is a new type of insolvency. It may be suitable for people with no assets and debts under �15,000.
"Insolvency is a last resort and we want people to come to us before their debts spiral out of control. We will do our best to help people whatever their situation, but it is much easier to help people in the early stages of debt.
"People come into us every day saying they have bailiffs on their door. This is often because they have not prioritised their debts correctly."
Mrs Hutchinson also said illegal loan sharks are emerging in Fenland.
She said: "These people target vulnerable people, like immigrants, disabled people and the elderly. They charge extortionate rates of interest and threaten people when they don't pay."
She reported that enquiries about home repossessions have risen by about 50 per cent in recent months and she has seen a dramatic rise of people unemployed or concerned about their jobs.
The Fenland Citizen's Advice Bureau has recently appointed a part time debt advisor and received �34,000 from Cambridgeshire Together, an organisation run by Cambridgeshire County Council, five district councils and representatives from the police, health, business organisations and the voluntary and community sector.
The money is budgeted to last until March 2010 and will pay to maintain debt advise in Chatteris and offer more debt advise in March.