Candidates standing for election in Linlithgow and
East Falkirk at May’s General Election are facing calls to make promoting free debt
advice a priority.
The call comes after a debt charity revealed it has received nearly 200 calls for help from people with debt problems in the constituency since 2013.
A total of 184 calls for help from people in Linlithgow and East Falkirk were received by National Debtline, the free advice service run by charity the Money Advice Trust, during 2013 and 2014.
In addition, the charity’s Business Debtline service, which advises the self- employed and other small business owners, received 25 calls from businesses in the constituency last year.
With research showing that only 17 per cent of people with unmanageable debt in the UK seeking advice, the need for debt help in Linlithgow and East Falkirk 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 Linlithgow and East Falkirk could “mean the difference between financial recovery and financial disaster” for thousands of people.
After contacting National Debtline, 82 per cent of people say they feel more in control and knowledgeable in managing their money.
MPs are often contacted by constituents about unmanageable debt, including problems with credit cards, personal loans, mortgage debts, payday loans, council tax arrears, rent arrears and court decrees.
As well as signposting these constituents to seek advice from charity-run services, many MPs take a pro-active role in promoting debt advice charities in their communities.
Joanna Elson, chief executive of the charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline, said: “Whoever is elected as Member of Parliament for Linlithgow and East Falkirk on May 7 needs to put promoting free debt advice near the top of their to-do list.
“While National Debtline has given nearly 200 advice sessions to people in Linlithgow and East Falkirk in the last two years, we know that potentially thousands more are suffering in silence.”