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West Country (E)

Your views on family debt

We asked you for your comments on reports that many families are struggling to cope with rising levels of debt. Here are some of the views posted on our Facebook page.

"It started with struggling to buy treats days out new clothes etc. Now its struggling to pay the bills and rent each week. Being a working single mum aint all its cracked up to be. Times are tough" - Miranda Heath

"I found it difficult to begin with but with clever management i have been able to treat myself and daughter weekly. I keep a bill account and a shopping account. The bill account gets topped up weekly. I too am also a working single mum. (currently on maternity)." - Claire Louise

"A third of families borrow to buy essentials for children, the other 2 thirds sponge off the state" - Nigel Topp

West Country (E)

Where to go for debt advice

Today we are looking in to a new report which suggests that more than 160,000 children across the west country are living in families with debt problems.

Research out today shows more than 1 in 10 families in the region are failing to keep up with household bills and loan repayments.

Below are some useful links to agencies which specialise in helping people who have financial problems.

Step Change: http://www.stepchange.org/

0800 138 1111 Step Change offer a free online advice tool, Debt Remedy, where you can enter your debt details and receive advice in 20 minutes.

My Money Steps: https://www.mymoneysteps.org/

0808 808 4000 My Money Steps is an online service from National Debtline, allowing you to get free online advice, and by phone.

Money Advice Service: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en

0300 500 5000 Chat to their online team, or call for free, unbiased, independent advice.

Christians Against Poverty: https://www.capuk.org/

01274 760720 A charity set up in 1996, CAP provide money courses, debt help, and have centres set up all over the UK.

Citizens Advice Bureau: http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/

08444 111 444 Citizens Advice can provide online, telephone, and in-person support with branches located throughout the UK.

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Third of families borrow to buy essentials for children

Third of families borrow to buy essentials for children
Third of families borrow to buy essentials for children Credit: ITV News

More than a 160,000 children across the west country are living in families with debt problems. New research out today shows more than 1 in 10 families in the region are failing to keep up with household bills and loan repayments. It also shows that a third of families have had to borrow money in the last year to pay for essentials for their children. There are calls today for the government to offer parents more support.

West Country (E)

Police say charity collector alerted police to Copeland

Christopher Copeland from Devon has been told he faces a long prison sentence after defrauding the charity Help for Heroes out of £300,000. DCI Mike Robison from Devon and Cornwall Police spoke to ITV Westcountry outside court today and told us it was one of the charity collectors Copeland was using that became alerted the police.

"He used a lot of charity collectors who went all over the country using military vehicles that were liveried with the Heroes livery on them. And the public, seeing these types of vehicles, would have quite legitimately given their money believing it was going to the charity when actually it didn't."

– DCI Mike Robison

Man pleads guilty to defrauding charity out of £300,000

Christopher Copeland
Christopher Copeland Credit: Irving of Exeter

A man from Devon has been told he faces a long jail sentence after defrauding the charity Help for Heroes out of £300,000.

Garage owner Christopher Copeland organised charity supermarket collections across Devon with teams of volunteers, but failed to give the money to the charity.

The 51-year-old pleaded guilty. He will be sentenced on 15th September.

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National

Employment figures show record number in work

The Government received good news on the jobs front today with the latest unemployment figures showing a record number of people in work.

Men outside a Job Centre Plus branch
Men outside a Job Centre Plus branch. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Read: McVey says employment rise reward for country's resilience in downturn

Over 30 million people are now in work, which is an increase of almost a million in the past year - the best figures since records began in 1971.

There is an employment rate of 73.1%, with just over 78% of men and 68% of women in work.

More than 4.5 million people are self-employed, which is the highest since records began in 1992 after an increase of 404,000 over the past year, Office for National Statistics showed.

Read more: Unemployment falls by 121,000 to 2.12 million

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