More over-70s face struggle to cope with their debts

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The number of over-70s in Yorkshire struggling with debt has risen by a third, figures obtained by the Yorkshire Post reveal.

Experts say the situation is worrying because many pensioners in this age group rely on savings or their pension and do not have any other income coming in, making it difficult to raise extra cash to cover debts.

Low interest rates also mean many reliant upon savings have seen their retirement income come under increased pressure.

Figures from the debt charity, Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS), show the average debt for this age group in Yorkshire is £19,542 – slightly higher than the UK average of £19,338.

“Many of Yorkshire’s over-70s are struggling – especially after a year of rising prices, soaring energy bills and poor returns on any savings they may rely upon for income,” a spokesman for CCCS said.

In 2010 there were 252 people in Yorkshire who contacted CCCS for debt advice; this was a 33 per cent increase on the previous year and a three-fold increase on 2008 when 77 people contacted the charity for advice.

The charity says the situation among the over 70s is likely to deteriorate over the next year.

Nationwide research carried out for the charity found that 13 per cent of its clients aged 70-74, nine per cent of those aged 75-79 and eight per cent of those over the age of 80, have no money to repay their debts once they have covered the cost of their living expenses.

CCCS director of external affairs Delroy Corinaldi said: “Not only are money problems difficult to deal with at any age, they are particularly hard at an age when you will find it hard to increase your income. While most people would hope to have paid off their mortgage and other debts by the time they are 70, this is a distant dream for a significant number of older people.”