Forever in your debt - Councillor's Corner by Cllr. Bambos Charalambous

28th December 2016

 Forever in your debt - Councillor's Corner by Cllr. Bambos Charalambous

I recently came across a truly staggering fact;

In October 2016 the International Monetary

Fund (IMF) estimated that the total global

debt owed other than from the financial

sector is $152 trillion which equates to 225%

of global gross domestic product or, to put it

another way, enough to buy everything in the

world twice over! Much of this debt is

personal debt.

With Christmas and New Year fast becoming

a distant memory the financial excesses of

the festive period become very real in

January when, like a bad hangover, the bank

statements and credit card bills start landing

on our mats.

Charities such as The Money Charity have

calculated that the average national debt in

the UK per person is £29,862 which is 13.6%

more than the average national income.

Another charity, Step Change, state that the

credit cards, overdrafts and loans account for

a large amount of their clients’ money

worries with Council tax and utility bills also

a concern. Another staggering fact is that

£26.3 billion was spent last year alone just

paying off interest on credit card debt in the


With the easy availability of low credit and

the clever marketing of consumer goods it’s

not hard to see how people fall into the trap

of wanting the latest must have fashions,

gadgets, computer games, box sets, etc.

We’ve probably all been seduced by good

marketing at some time or other. However, if

interest rates and inflation begin to rise as

expected then many people will begin to feel

the pinch and that’s when the problems

could begin.

Aside from the stress and fear as to what will

happen if you cannot pay your rent, credit

card bills, utility bills etc. there is the

practicality as to what you will do when you

are in debt up to your eyes. Thankfully there

are some amazing organisations that are

able to help people in these situations.

Nationally we have the National Debtline

which is a government organisation with a

help line number and very user friendly

website. Locally we have the Enfield Citizens

Advice Bureau which does some remarkable

work in not only getting various large credit

and utility companies to agree to defer or

even waive payments but also in advising as

to how people can maximise their income

and learn how to budget.

The desire to live outside our means is,

however, a state of mind and unless we

address that it is likely that our addiction to

low credit will stay. Despite cheap food and

clothing chain stores booming at present it

seems that we are still spending much more

than we need to. Two practical bits of advice

I try to apply in my life are to be as best

informed as you can be about what you are

borrowing and spending money on and

secondly to question why I am buying

something. If we don’t address our

indebtedness it is likely to negatively impact

on our lives especially if rates rise and who

knows, perhaps even lead us into another

financial crash.

Tel: 020 8379 2653

Cllr Charalambous writes regularly in our

Palmers Green and Southgate LIFE

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