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Don’t ‘present’ debt this Christmas

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As one of the busiest retail periods of the year begins the Housing Executive is encouraging tenants to seek advice on budgeting and staying debt free for Christmas and on into the New Year.

This time of the year is difficult for many households and it’s easy to overspend on tempting offers and the pressures to buy.  But prioritising paying rent and utility bills is vital as having a home is more important than any Christmas present.

Working in partnership with Citizens Advice, the Housing Executive offers its tenants practical information that will help keep debt away this Christmas.

Today many people are finding it difficult to make ends meet.  The Housing Executive is advising its tenants to keep on top of rent as failure to do so may result in the loss of their home.

Colm McQuillan, the Housing Executive’s Assistant Director for Landlord Services, said:

“We all know of the pressure to spend above what is normal at Christmas but having a home is more important than any Christmas present.

 “Housing Executive tenants having difficulty paying their rent should not ignore the problem.  Our local accounts staff can provide assistance, confidential help and advice on 03448 920 900. They are there to help.

 “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 Kathy Mc Kenna says:  

“Citizens Advice is here to help people find a way forward with their problems.  Every year, we help thousands of people with money and debt problems, but we know there are many more not getting the help they need.  So we are delighted to be launching this new free service across Northern Ireland with the support of the Money Advice Service.  We now have qualified debt advisers in all 11 council areas across our 29 local offices.”

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.

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