Hundreds of people in Dundee have had to turn to the Citizens Advice Bureau for help with their debts during the coronavirus pandemic.
A total of 421 Dundonians have had to get help as their debts spiralled out of control during the lockdown.
The majority of this debt was from credit card debts and personal loans.
However, staff at the Dundee Citizens Advice Bureau say this could get even worse with support like the UK Government’s furlough scheme coming to an end later this year.
They are now urging anyone with debts piling up to speak out and get the help they need to get their finances back under control.
Tracy McNally, manager of Dundee Citizens Advice Bureau, said getting help as early as possible is key, and wants to encourage people not to put off their problems.
She said: “Since the pandemic started we’ve already helped 421 people with debt issues, but we’re concerned people may be storing up problems that will hit really hard when various income protections end.
“We want to remind people that if you are in debt, and particularly if you have accrued new debts during the crisis, it is vital that you prepare for this and try to sort out your debts as soon as possible.
“The worst thing you can ever do with debt is ignore it or hope it will go away.
“The good news is that dealing with your debts is easier than you think.
“The key thing is to get help, and our advisers here at the Citizens Advice Bureau are really keen to help.”
Citizens Advice can negotiate with creditors on clients’ behalf, organise repayment plans and sometimes even have some debt written off.
Tracy stressed that the Dundee branch remains operational during lockdown and has staff ready to help.
“Our Citizens Advice Bureau hasn’t stopped giving advice during this crisis, and we’re here to give people the help they need,” she said.
“Above all, debt is nothing to be ashamed of.
“We won’t judge you – we just want to help – and Citizens Advice Bureau help is completely free, impartial and confidential.
“Make today the day you started to get control of your debt.”
Those who are struggling with their debts can get in touch with the Dundee Citizens Advice Bureau by emailing email@example.com or by calling 01382 214633.
The bureau also has an online money map tool to help people get advice on their debts.