Local MP, Andrew Gwynne, is urging people who are struggling with energy bills to seek expert advice, as new research highlights many people are not aware of the help that is available.
Leading debt charity Christians Against Poverty warns spiralling personal debt can negatively affect all areas of a person’s life causing loss of sleep, putting a strain on relationships, leading to poor physical and mental health – and even risking their home and livelihood.
Seeking help sooner rather than allowing debt problems to develop and escalate is the best way to reduce these negative consequences, says the charity.
But new research from British Gas has revealed that many people simply don’t know where to turn for help.
While two thirds of people said they would speak to family members or their energy company to get help with energy debt, a third of those surveyed said they wouldn’t speak to anyone at all if they were in financial difficulty.
Just 46% of respondents said they would contact their energy company after 1-3 months if they were in financial difficulty. But 29% said they didn’t know how to find out about help.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“January can be a financially difficult time for many so I’d strongly advise anyone who is worried about their energy bills to get help and advice – by calling their energy supplier or seeking help from a debt counselling charity like Christians Against Poverty.
“There is lots of help out there – so there’s no need to feel alone or let bills build up.”
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) offer face-to-face support at home while negotiating with creditors on behalf of their client. The charity helps everyone for free, regardless of age, gender, faith or background. Its helpline can be reached on 0800 328 0006.
You can visit your local CAP in Tameside at: Carmel Christian Centre, Seymour Street, Denton, Manchester, M34 3PF (0161 320 7308) or 360 Life Church, 71 Adswood Rd, Stockport SK3 8HR (0161 850 8360)
In addition to its partnerships with Christians Against Poverty and Step-Change, British Gas offers direct help to customers who are having difficulty paying their bills, with interest-free debt repayment plans. In 2016, some 105,000 people were offered assistance in this way.