Shropshire residents urged not to suffer in silence as the recession continues

Posted: 01/10/2009

Families and businesses across Shropshire are being urged not to suffer in silence as the recession continues to take its toll.


People of all ages are struggling with financial crisis in the current economic situation and a county business set up to help those in debt has noticed the impact.


Nick Greer, Managing Director of Integrity, based in Shrewsbury’s Square, said the number of calls from people needing help has massively increased.


He said: “The recession is obviously having a big effect at the moment, we have families with one or two members made redundant and they find it hard to make ends meet and it is also affecting small to medium sized businesses and sole-traders as well.


“The number of calls to us is increasing and the debt statistics just bowl you over. Two thirds of the EU’s credit card debt is held by the UK and there are more credit cards than people across the country.”


But Mr Greer said the increase in calls shows people are willing to look for help and are not keeping it a secret, which can lead to devastating consequences.


“In the past people would keep debt a secret,” he added. “Keeping it a secret is a dangerous thing to do but we are finding now that people are sharing the fact that they are having difficulties more readily and we would encourage people to do that.


“We find that the personal touch means people open up more and can share more and that means we are in a better position to help.


“A lot of people make a judgement about debt and say ‘it is their own fault’ but quite often it is just a change in circumstances; with 99 per cent of our clients it is circumstances that have hit them such as redundancy, illness or bereavement and a common one is divorce, that has taken their financial legs from under them.


“With help they can overcome it. Companies chasing for debt are becoming more aggressive, some people are recording they get five calls a day per creditor. Add that to losing a job or a bereavement and it can be too much to bear.


“It can cause people to go over the edge and there are plenty of examples of that.”


Christopher Foster killed his wife and 16-year-old daughter before burning down their home near Oswestry because he feared he would lose everything due to his debts. He had told no-one about his financial situation.


Mr Greer, of Bicton Heath, Shrewsbury, is a co-director of Integrity along with his wife Elaine and daughter Alix. His sister Anna Purfit and daughter Francesca also work in the business.


The firm is currently working with Nicholls & Co, specialist Insolvency solicitors based in Shrewsbury to offer solutions to help struggling businesses who are finding the economic crisis is taking its toll.


Integrity offers a free face to face consultation in the person’s home. On average a consultation takes three hours, an hour to explain solutions and two hours to answer the questions that come from that.


“The Citizens Advice Bureau’s are excellent and do a great job, it can be difficult to get an appointment with them due to the huge demand for their services,” added Mr Greer.


“The most popular debt solution at the moment we’ve noticed is personal bankruptcy, followed by debt management and then individual voluntary arrangements.


“There are a variety of solutions for debt and each one varies depending on the individual circumstances in terms of suitability.”


For more information on Integrity Financial Services Ltd and how they can help you if you find yourself unable to pay your bills, call (01743) 272900 or visit