A CHARITY based in Maryhill is urging residents not to ignore their financial difficulties and to seek debt advice sooner rather than later.

Glasgow North West Citizen’s Advice Bureau (GNWCAB), who is backing the national Money Advice Matters campaign, is stressing that the economic impact of the pandemic is set to worsen later in the year.

The Citizens Advice Scotland campaign reveals that over half of all people who sought debt advice from a Scottish CAB during the pandemic wish they had done so sooner.

Last month, GNWCAB supported 42-year-old Carole (not her real name) with over £80,000 in debts from being self-employed during Covid19.

She said: “I’ve lived in Northwest Glasgow most of my life and I was always the generous one of my family. I come from a big family with a lot of siblings, I’m one of the oldest children.

“I’d always kept up with my credit card payments, never missing them, until the pandemic hit and turned my life upside-down.

“I got into debt a few years ago, when my husband and I decided to sell our house to help fund my daughter’s education because she wanted to study abroad. You always want what’s best for your children, and we felt it was a worthwhile investment. We managed to keep our heads above water until March last year.

“When the pandemic struck, we were both self-employed and unable to keep working. For a while we struggled through it and I kept burying my head under the sand but it took its toll. Honestly, it was horrendous. I now have over £80,000 in debt."

Carole contacted GNWCAB who helped talk her through her money issues.

The charity believes many people are set to experience a wave of financial problems such as job loss or reduced incomes as government measures put in place last year to help people through the pandemic come to an end in the coming months.

Rob Gallagher, CEO of GNWCAB, said: “Over the next few months people relying on temporary support such as furlough schemes and benefit increases are going to lose that help and many will see a fall in income through reduced hours or even job loss, which will be a big hit to their finances.

"Our ‘Money Advice Matters’ campaign is intended to remind people GNWCAB is to give you free, independent expert advice and support for any financial problems you are facing.

“We can help by putting on hold creditor demands for payment, negotiating better re-payment schedules, advise on options for paying bills, dealing with arrears and tackling debt. This is what we do every day. We talk to the energy companies, the council, credit card providers, landlords and all sorts of other agencies, to help relieve people of their money and debt problems.

"Call us on 0141 948 0204 or look up our online advice at cas.org.uk/money-advice-matters or self-help tools including moneymap.scot. We are here to help.”