Fighting negative budgets with positive help

Published: 28 March 2024

Citizens Advice: fighting negative budgets with positive help

The rising cost of living and debt hardship in recent years is a familiar story, but very recently the issue has become alarming enough to reach the condition of a national emergency. This is why Citizens Advice has brought some entirely new vocabulary into play, declaring in recent publicity that five million people in this country (one in 15 households) are living on “negative budgets” – in other words, they have nothing in the bank and are in permanent debt. Another 2.3 million people only manage to stay out of debt by cutting back even on living essentials. They know that once their bank accounts dip below zero it takes an extraordinary effort to climb out of the pit.

Citizens Advice says that the biggest cause of negative budgets is rising housing costs, but there are other factors such as higher energy bills, and salaries and benefits that cannot keep pace with inflation.

If you are in debt yourself and locked in battle against creditors and the cost of necessities, remember that Citizens Advice Oxfordshire South and Vale is there to help you. Our experienced advisers can work through your income and spending and set a personal budget that meets your basic needs while also setting a plan for paying off your debts in the long term. We can find out whether you are entitled to benefits, or enhanced benefits, and discuss whether you could do something to increase your earnings. We can point you in the direction of money helper websites or “breathing space” schemes. So don’t despair, but get in touch with us right away. Call our local Adviceline on 0808 278 7907 or our national Debt Helpline on 0800 240 4420. And have a look at Free, confidential and impartial advice is always available.