Nick Smith MP has said the millions in debt handled by the Citizens’ Advice Bureau prove the economic recovery is not being spread throughout Britain.

As BBC Wales screened the documentary “Living on the Never Never”, about three families struggling with debt in the region, CAB in Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent revealed they had handled £11.7m of debt issues in 2013/14.

With 20 new clients a week and an average of £12,597 owed per client, it is the CAB’s view that people are being forced to turn to credit cards, overdrafts and payday loans to feed their families.

The Blaenau Gwent MP has been campaigning for socially responsible credit since revealing last year that Wonga had loaned more than £1m in the borough in a twelve month period.

Mr Smith said: “I am not shocked in the least by the massive debt problems CAB are dealing with, because the Government are solely concerned with growth in the South and shires of England.

“The BBC documentary showed how circumstances such as ill-health or bereavement can trap people in a cycle of debt, but it is not just those who have been punished by circumstance who are struggling.

“I have campaigned for people to join credit unions such as Blaenau Gwent’s SmartMoney for socially responsible help at those times we need it most.

“But that does not solve the problem of real wages falling and the cost of living rising.

“Labour intend to meet that challenge at the coming election by ensuring decent jobs, raising wages and working for a better start in life for our young people.”

The CAB branch are dealing with 20 new debt clients a week with an average of £12,597 owed per client. Bureau across Wales dealt with almost 105,000 debt issues in the past year accounting for 31% of all enquiries in 2013/14.


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