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Advice NI online discussion on debt

The impact of debt on individuals and households across Northern Ireland

Advice NI is facilitating an online discussion to find out how debt is affecting people across Northern Ireland. Everyone is invited to log on to www.voiceni.net and have their say. The eConsultation will run from 19 November to 17 December.

Key findings will then be fed into a wider research project being carried out on behalf of the Centre for Economic Empowerment by NICVA and Advice NI into the nature, extent and impact of both illegal and expensive legal lending in Northern Ireland.

Anyone struggling to make ends meet and cope with household bills and expenses can take part. Advice NI is particularly interested to hear from people who have accessed credit from expensive legal lenders like payday loans or illegal money lenders and are now struggling to keep up the repayments.

Advice NI can offer people access to Debt Action NI which is aimed at helping those most financially vulnerable in Northern Ireland. The service offers FREE, confidential and impartial debt and money advice services. The purpose is to help people manage their money and debt issues so they can take back control. It also aims to ease the stress and powerlessness people may feel about their financial situation.

Commenting on the online debate, Advice NI Chief Executive Bob Stronge said:

‘We are seeing evidence on a daily basis of the impact of debt on individuals and households across Northern Ireland. We want to know more about people’s experiences of debt – how people got into debt; the impact on their lives and what more could be done to help.’

‘We know that debt can ruin lives. We also know that people can and do get their debt back under control. We want to understand more about people’s experiences of debt, including the causes and impacts.’

Commenting on the overall research project, Peter Hutchinson, Co-ordinator of the Centre for Economic Empowerment, said:

‘The recession has had a significant impact on employment and income levels. It has also led banks and financial institutions to tighten up on their lending. The growth in expensive legal lending and illegal lending appears to be a consequence of these changes. ‘This research project will examine why and how people are accessing expensive legal and illegal lending and explore the implications of this.’

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