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20th July 2004

CONSUMER COUNCIL WELCOMES DEBT STRATEGY

<p>With consumer credit in the UK at about £1 trillion and increasing by £1 million every four minutes, the General Consumer Council has welcomed today’s publication of the Government’s over indebtedness strategy.</p>

Alan Walker, Head of Consumer Affairs at the Consumer Council said:

“Credit has become part of many consumers' everyday lives and its impact can be very wide ranging. Many people can make their repayments easily, but for some, it's a different story. For those who cannot keep up with their credit commitments or make their repayments, credit can become a major source of misery and despair, so this strategy is a welcome step forward.

“However, it can only benefit people if it is delivered through a co-ordinated effort by Government, the industry and other agencies including the advice sector.  It is important that the strategy is taken forward in Northern Ireland to ensure that there is help in place for those already in debt, as well as advice for others on how to use credit wisely and avoid getting into debt.  Together with the recent changes to consumer credit legislation, the strategy should help bring about more responsible lending which is needed from the industry.”

  1. The General Consumer Council for Northern Ireland is represented on the UK Government's Over indebtedness strategy Advisory Group.
  2. General Consumer Council media contact: Susie Brown, telephone, 028 9067 4807 or e-mail, susie.brown@gccni.org.uk
  3. The General Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland's consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about electricity, natural gas, coal and passenger transport.
  4. For more information, visit our website at www.gccni.org.uk