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Don’t ‘present’ debt this Christmas

Published: Thur, 23 Nov 2017
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Citizens Advice’s Gemma Willis and the Housing Executive’s Ian McCrickard advise tenants to seek budgeting advice to stay debt free at Christmas
Housing Executive tenants are being encouraged to seek advice on budgeting and staying debt free this Christmas.
The festive period can be tempting with pressures to overspend, but having a home is more important than any Christmas present this year.
By prioritising paying rent and utility bills, the Housing Executive hopes it will be a Merry Christmas for all their tenants.
Working in partnership with Citizens Advice, the Housing Executive is offering practical information for tenants to keep debt away this Christmas.
Today many people are finding it difficult to make ends meet. We are advising tenants to keep on top of rent as failure to do so may result in the loss of their home.
Ian McCrickard, our Assistant Director for Landlord Services, said:
“The pressures of overspending at Christmas can mean that tenants can run into financial difficulty. Our message would be that having a home is more important than any Christmas present.
“Our local accounts staff can provide assistance, confidential help and advice on 03448 920 900. They are there to help. Our tenants having difficulty paying their rent should not ignore the problem.
“Debt won’t go away, the longer you leave it the worse it will get. If you have other debt then contact our partner Citizens Advice which has a network of local offices like ourselves across Northern Ireland with advisers to help.
"You can also call the Freephone number 0800 028 1881 which could make all the difference. No matter how large or how small the money worry is, it’s important to access this free advice as soon as possible.”
Citizens Advice Project Manager Gemma Willis says:
“Citizens Advice tends to see an increase in people seeking help in the period after Christmas.   Many people face greater financial pressures in January as credit cards and other bills tend to increase as a consequence of Christmas.   
“We would encourage people to seek help and advice immediately if they are struggling to pay their bills.  Citizens Advice is here to help anyone struggling with debt and you can contact us for free on 0800 028 1881, email or drop into one of our local offices across Northern Ireland.”
The Housing Executive encourages a few ‘quick wins’ by changing the way energy is used as over a year a lot can be saved. Tenants can choose which electricity or gas supplier’s tariff best suit their needs through a couple of local comparison websites.
By not leaving equipment on standby, using the heat and light appliances as needed, washing full loads at a lower temperature, turning heating thermostat down 1oc are all simple energy saving tips which will help save money and add to the pot for next year’s Christmas treats.