Although dealing with debt issues can be daunting, dedicated debt advice organisations are available across Wirral to provide free, friendly and confidential help to residents.
The Wirral Infobank website (www.wirralinfobank.co.uk ) has information about dozens of organisations who can help, including those providing specialist advice on debt related to age, gambling, poor mental health, veterans, migration and loan sharks.
Citizens Advice Wirral, Age UK Wirral, Wirral Change and Wirral Mencap have also joined forces to provide free, impartial, and confidential information and advice to local residents.
Funded by Wirral Council and Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group, ‘Ask Us Wirral’ can help with lots of practical issues, including filling in forms, benefit entitlement checks, finding new solutions to debt arrangements, and support to access emergency food and fuel.
For more information visit the Ask Us Wirral website (www.askuswirral.org.uk ) or call freephone 0808 278 7848 / 0800 144 8848 or Textphone 18001 0800 144 884.
The Leader of Wirral Council, Councillor Jeanette Williamson, said:
“The pandemic has been tough on everyone in all sorts of ways, including financially. People have sadly lost their jobs, others have seen their working hours cut, and many have been furloughed and had to get by on just 80 per cent of their usual income. This has left many people with increased debts, so I would urge anyone affected to look into the support available via Wirral Infobank and the ‘Ask Us Wirral’ service.”
Other changes due shortly are expected to affect many people’s finances further.
Carol Johnson-Eyre, CEO of Citizens Advice Wirral, explains:
“The national furlough scheme is being wound down and will come to an end on 30 September, which is expected to lead to job losses. The £20 weekly top-up to Universal Credit will also come to an end this Autumn, which will greatly affect many people on benefits. And on top of these, just last week the energy regulator ofgem announced that their price cap will rise by £96 for default tariff customers, and by £87 for pre-payment meter customers, leading to higher energy bills for many people.
“Although all of these changes will leave more people facing debt, they don’t have to deal with it on their own and it’s never too soon – or too late – to get help.”