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Devon Pensioners 'Struggling With Debt'

Oct 24, 2007
Older people in Devon are increasingly struggling with their finances, new figures show.

The announcement comes as Torbay is revealed to have the largest percentage of poor pensioners in any town or city to the west of Bristol. According to figures released by the GMB union, almost a quarter (23.2 per cent) of pensioners living in the town are claiming pensions credit in an attempt to boost their weekly income.

However, Robin Causley, managing director of Age Concern Torbay, pointed out that a number of older people could be experiencing unnecessary hardship in meeting various demands on their spending such as home loans and utility bills due to the "complicated" pension credit scheme, reports thisissouthdevon "Quite a few people who have debts haven't totally claimed all of the benefits to which they are entitled", the manager reported. Mr Causley also asserted that there has been a "notable increase" in the general debt problems experienced in the town over recent years as people are increasingly struggling with rising living costs and paying back various forms of borrowing.

Meanwhile, Torquay and Newton Abbot county court was revealed to have seen 19 pensioners apply for bankruptcy over the course of 2006. And with ten consumers over the age of 65 filing for the form of insolvency during the first six months of this year, a rising number of older people could well be struggling to make repayments on loans and other types of borrowing. Ken Pickering, district manager for the Torquay branch of Citizens Advice, suggested that the general economic climate has caused more over-65s to develop problems in managing their money.

He said: "They are offered easy credit and are just as inclined to take that offer up. It's very easy to find yourself in a position where you can't pay for the loans you have taken out. The perception in the past was that older people tend to be more careful and less likely to spend on credit cards. There has been a shift over the last few years with credit cards and store cards becoming a lot more acceptable and normal".

"Older people are facing the same pressures as everyone else, taking the credit they can afford at the time. It's only when there is a life change, such as retirement, that you may find out that what you could afford then you cannot afford now," Mr Pickering added. He also pointed out that an ever-rising number of people are still making mortgage repayments after retirement, possibly because they have used the equity built up in their home as a form of secured loan.

Earlier this year, Helen Wanless, senior press officer for Age Concern, reported that roughly one in three of the over-60s are unaware that they are able to claim money from the pension credit scheme. Her comments come as findings from the Commons public accounts committee reveal that some 1.6 million older people are missing out on up to 2.1 billion pounds, a sum which could help many handle demands on their spending such as mortgages, utility bills and secured loans with greater ease.

Meanwhile, taking out a low-rate loan could be another way for older people to reduce pressure on their finances. By using such a type of loan as a means of debt consolidation against previous arrears, borrowers could well find themselves with a higher rate of disposable income at the end of every month.
About the Author
Mark Dawson writes for the Loan Arrangers. Where visitors can compare cheap loans online, and apply for debt consolidation loans, and secured loans at the best rates.
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