Debt and money advice
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Debt is a big problem in society and it can have serious consequences, so you should not ignore it. The earlier you get advice for your debt problems the better. However, don't worry - there are lots of organisations that can provide free debt advice and they are listed below.
Remember: If you cannot pay all of your bills make sure that you always pay the following bills first: rent, mortgage, gas, electricity, council tax, TV licence, Magistrates Court fines and child support. These bills are priority debts because late payment can be more serious than for other debts: you can lose your home, have your fuel supply cut off or even be sent to prison.
Warning: There are companies who claim they can get your debts written off or get you compensation by claiming that your credit agreements are unenforceable. These firms usually charge up-front fees with no guarantee that they will be successful. In most cases you will not get your money back they are not successful.
National telephone debt advice services
The Money Advice Service (MAS) are an independent service set up by the government to help people manage their money. They provide accreditation to free debt advice providers that meet their quality standard so that people can be reassured the advice they are receiving is of a high and consistent standard.
For details of national debt advice providers accredited by MAS visit their free debt advice and help locator tool. You can search for online and phone advice services, and also local face to face services by postcode.
Online debt advice and self-help information
National Debtline is a national organisation accredited by MAS that provides free debt advice. Their website has self-help information including factsheets and template letters. Find out what options are available if you can't pay your debts at Gov.uk. You can also get your own step by step action plan and advice on your debts from National Debtline's online service 'My Money Steps'.
Use the MAS free debt advice and help locator tool to find more online debt advice providers.
Local debt advice services
The following organisations provide independent debt and money advice in Newcastle:
Newcastle City Council (Money Matters Team)
Telephone: 0191 277 1712 or 0191 277 1716 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm)
Professionals can request a referral form by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: Advice Line (Any issue) 0344 245 1288 (Monday to Friday, 10:00am to 4:00pm)
Telephone: 0191 278 8600
Telephone: 0808 164 0111
If you are worried about losing your home visit our what to do if you need housing advice or are homeless webpage.
Other help if you are worried about money
Here are other ways you can get help if you are worried about money or have urgent one-off needs.
- Charities. Turn2Us and Charity Choice provide search tools for help with one-off or regular payments. Lets Talk (Charis) administers trust funds on behalf of several energy companies.
- Free school meals. Our free school meals webpage has information on eligibility and how to apply for free school meals.
- Budgeting loans from DWP (for those on 'legacy' benefits like Income Support) which although still loans are interest free. You can get similar ‘budgeting advances’ for those on Universal Credit.
- Foodbanks. Details of local foodbank and free emergency food
- Help with housing costs. If you are receiving Housing Benefit and are finding it difficult to pay your rent, you can apply for extra help through the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme.
- Crisis Support Scheme. If you need food, clothing, fuel for heating or expenses for emergency travel to cover a short term period of crisis or disaster, the Crisis Support Scheme can help.
- Supporting Independence Scheme. Support workers can apply to the Supporting Independence Scheme on behalf of clients on a low income for basic household items that would enable them to resettle or remain in the community or to prevent homelessness.
- Saving money. Having savings available when you have urgent one-off needs can be invaluable. The main credit union in Newcastle is Moneywise credit union and for information on how to begin saving with them, call 0191 276 7963. Our Borrow wisely leaflet (pdf, 178kb) provides information about the different opportunities to save in Newcastle, as well as affordable credit options.
- Loan Sharks. If you wish to report a business or person that you suspect may be carrying out an illegal activity, such as a loan shark, please contact our Trading Standards Service.
For more ways to save money we have a Budgeting leaflet(pdf, 164kb) with tips on how to reduce your household expenditure.
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