Debt advisers warn of impact of gas price increase Thursday 7 August 2008 PDF Print Following recent increases in the price of gas, debt consolidation experts DebtAdvisersDirect.co.uk warned of the probable impact on those already struggling to cope with higher living costs, economic uncertainty and record levels of personal debt. Shortly after EDF Energy’s announcement of its decision to raise gas prices by 22%, British Gas owner Centrica announced an increase which would see the average gas bill rise by 35%, taking a ‘standard’ annual £650 bill up to almost £900. “In itself,” said a spokesperson for DebtAdvisersDirect.co.uk, “this increase could be enough to push certain households into debt – or further into debt – but this is by no means an isolated instance. Today’s consumers are facing substantial increases across the board, from food and petrol to gas and electricity. The cumulative effects can be devastating: for many, there may simply be no way of finding another £227 per year, which works out to almost £5 per week.” Zoe Mcleod of independent charity National Energy Action summed it up as follows: “Centrica is the second energy supplier to put its prices up. We expect this sequence to continue across all suppliers forcing more than 1 million households in England into fuel poverty. Across the UK fuel poverty could affect 6 million households by the end of the year.” Despite British Gas’ reassurance that the increase would be postponed until April for the 340,000 customers who qualify for its ‘Essentials’ tariff, the effect on millions of other customers will be immediate. “With so many demands on their budget, consumers are facing some tough decisions,” the DebtAdvisersDirect.co.uk spokesperson continued. “They may feel forced to ‘juggle’ their debts using credit cards, or even to neglect some bills so they can pay others. “As debt advisers with 15 years’ experience, we strongly advise against either course of action. However serious someone’s debts are, there are far better ways of handling them. The important thing is to seek expert debt advice – and to do it sooner, rather than later.” In many cases, the right debt advice can help people cope with the extra strain on their finances: “Some people may be able to free up the necessary extra funds by learning to budget more effectively, or by renegotiating payments to their creditors. For others, however, no amount of debt advice will be enough – if their budgets are already stretched to the limit, they may need to look into professional debt solutions, such as a debt management plan or debt consolidation loan. “In today’s economic climate, of course, the kinds of debt help available may be limited, as problems in today’s credit market are keeping some people from accessing the debt consolidation loans that could help them regain control of their finances. In cases like this, an alternative debt solution may be more appropriate. “Debt management, for example, relies not on access to further credit but on negotiations between an individual’s creditors and the debt management professionals who ask them to accept lower monthly payments and grant other concessions. As always, we would recommend that anyone in financial difficulty seek professional debt advice as soon as possible.” About Debt Advisers Direct Debtadvisersdirect.co.uk helps people with financial difficulties, providing debt advice and tailor-made debt solutions including debt consolidation, debt management plans & IVAs. For more information, contact Melanie.Taylor@debtadvisersdirect.co.uk (0845 056 6480) or visit the debtadvisersdirect.co.uk website at http://www.debtadvisersdirect.co.uk/. This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Debt Advisers Direct in the following categories: Personal Finance, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.