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People 'tipped into debt simply by having a bill to pay'

Victoria Winckler from think tank the Bevan Foundation says it is "really worrying" how many people in Wales are in too much debt.

She said: "There is a problem at the bottom of the scale, where people simply don't have enough to make ends meet, and they can be tipped over into financial difficulty through no fault of their own, such as the birth of a child or having a bill to pay."

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One in six people in Wales 'in too much debt'

400,000 people in Wales - around one in six of the population - are in too much debt, according to a new report.

The report was commissioned by the Welsh Government and delivered by the Public Policy Institute for Wales.

The Welsh Government says low income is strongly linked with indebtedness and financial exclusion - where people cannot access lower-cost borrowing and resort to payday lenders or loan sharks.

We know that one in six people are being over burdened by debt, which is too many.

While there are many factors which cause people to go into poverty we believe that the impact of the UK Government's welfare reform is too deep, too fast and changes to the benefits system, including the bedroom tax, is contributing to the poverty problems faced by individuals, families and communities in Wales.

Credit unions offer a real, community based alternative to traditional banks and payday lenders.

– Jeff Cuthbert, Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister

Drop-in debt advice

Debt and benefit surgeries are being run in Carmarthenshire for residents struggling with debt.

RDP Sir Gâr are hosting free drop-in surgeries advising on benefit claims, debt management, entitlement checks, getting back to work and budgeting.

The surgeries are part of the Rural Community Inclusion project that aims to increase the availability and accessibility of basic services and facilities in rural areas.

The idea is to reach out to people who are unable to access central services. People can come to me with a whole range of queries.

In terms of debts, it can be anything from basic budgeting to more complicated things like dealing with creditors.

– Bex Llewhelin, surgery organiser

To find out more contact: Bex Llewhelin rsllewhelin@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or call

01267 242 344 / 07717 527252.

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Debt advice at hand

. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

According to the Citizens Advice Bureau, more people than ever before have taken out payday loans over this festive season than ever before.

Anyone struggling to pay off their Christmas spending can get free advice on how to deal with their debt from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Other groups offering help include debt charity Stepchange which has a free helpline 0800 138 1111 and a 24-hour anonymous online counselling service, and National Debtline which offers free, confidential advice on 0808 808 4000.

Families facing cash crisis

January is the worst time of year for those struggling with debt, according to the Citizens' Advice Bureau.

Many families are feeling the pinch as they begin to count the cost of their festive spending with research finding that around 5million British adults are considering taking out a payday loan in the next six months.

Pawnbroker Robin Rosalski, of Get Cash Quick in Queensferry, has been in business for 13 years and says he's never known it to be so busy.

He says people are so desperate, they are pawning everything and anything, from war medals to cars.