If you find yourself in debt and don't know where to turn, Preston City Council provide a free and confidential service offering in-depth advice, based on your personal circumstances. If you are struggling with debt issues and their related problems, we are sure we can help. Here in the Welfare Benefits Information Centre we have trained advisers who specialise in money advice.
We offer a free and confidential service to all the residents within the boundary of Preston City Council. The following advice should point you in the right direction.
How can I get debt and money advice?
You can make an appointment to see one of our qualified debt advisors by calling 01772 906838. This service is available Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm
We now offer advice, support and information out in the community through our outreach surgeries across the city. We can help you with:
- Creating and managing a budget
- Online applications for Housing benefit, Council Tax, Universal Credit, Trust Fund applications
- Increasing your income
- Reducing expenditure
- Bank accounts and savings
- Managing your money online
- Making the best credit choices
- How to manage debts
To make an appointment at one of our outreach sessions please contact us on 01772 906343 or email L.email@example.com
What information will I need for the advisor?
It is useful for our advisors and to ensure you receive the correct information and advice to have the following details to hand:
- Details of all your debts - recent statement, chasing letters, original agreement.
- Your income - including any benefits or pensions
- Your household bills - for items such as food and utilities, with details of any missed payments
- Approximate values of assets - like your home or car
- Work out a budget. Add up all the money you have coming in every week or month. Remember to include wages for yourself and your partner and/or any benefits you receive, plus rent from grown children and anyone else who lives with you. Then add up all the money you spend, including your mortgage/rent, council tax, utility bills, water bill, housekeeping, car tax, insurances, telephone, TV licence and any debts.
- Make sure you pay your priority debts first. Don't just pay the people who are knocking on the door first or the ones who keep ringing you. Priority debts are those which you would lose an essential service if you did not pay, for example, debts against your home, or those for which you could ultimately be imprisoned for if you didn't pay such as council tax. Gas and electricity bills are also priorities as these will be disconnected if you don't pay.
- Get in touch with your creditors. Do this straight away. Explain your difficulties. Go and see them, or phone or write to them. Very often they will be able to help. If the first person you speak to is unhelpful, ask to speak to somebody more senior who may be able to agree to help.
- Don't give up trying to reach an agreement even if creditors are difficult.
- Always keep copies of any letters you send or receive so that you can prove you have tried to reach an agreement if matters come to court.
What not to do if you get into debt:
- Don't feel guilty - over 2 million people are having the same problem
- Don't borrow more money to pay off the debts you have
- Don't ignore the problem - it won't go away
- Don't agree to sign your home as security - you could lose your home if you do
- Don't offer to pay more than you can afford
- Don't let creditors harass you - they can be prosecuted
- Don't panic - there are things you can do
Preventing money problems
Local services that can give you advice about budgeting and money management.
Dealing with debt
If you are struggling with debt issues and money related problems, we have qualified advisers who specialise in money advice.
We offer debt advice service which is a free and confidential service to all the residents within the boundary of Preston City Council.
There are many websites offering advice to people struggling with debt, but some of these offer services that you have to pay for. Check whether the information on the websites above can help you, first.
Self help pack
Preston City Council Debt Advice also produces a Self Help Pack, which can be used in getting back on track with your debts. Download a copy from the downloads section of this page.