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Debt owed by St Albans residents has risen says StepChange Debt Charity
The number of St Albans residents in debt is on the rise, according to new statistics from a national charity.
StepChange Debt Charity has revealed that the average debt owed by people in the city was £19,362 in 2012, compared to £18,437 in 2011.
These figures contrast to national figures, which see debt levels falling.
However the charity noted that less people have been asking for help and advice on how to deal with their debts.
In the first three quarters of 2012 representatives from the charity advised 239 people; while in 2011 284 came asking for help.
Delroy Corinaldi, external affairs director at the charity, said: "The rise in average debt levels is concerning, especially when compared with the falling national average.
"Many families are struggling under a burden of debt as household budgets are squeezed by low wage growth and rising living costs."
The charity is warning residents about the dangers of debt consolidation and urging them to use debt management. Mr Corinaldi added: "To anyone struggling financially, debt consolidation can seem to offer a quick fix, but borrowing more is rarely a good way to deal with a debt problem.
"We would encourage anyone who is struggling with problem debt to immediately seek free and impartial help from an organisation like StepChange Debt Charity, who can help by recommending a debt management solution that is tailored specifically to a person’s individual circumstances".