OLDER people in Worcester seeking help with debt problems owed on average more than £30,000 last year.

Figures released by the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) have revealed that over-55s in the city who called the charity for help in 2010 had borrowed on average £30,682 on credit cards, loans and other unsecured debts.

The charity fears the situation could lead to increasing numbers of retired homeowners turning to releasing equity from their homes as a means of repaying their debts. It said the continued squeeze on household budgets, including large rises in gas and electricity bills, had hit older people hard, causing many to struggle with their repayments.

Tom Moloney, CCCS equity release manager, said: “Equity release can be a good solution for some retirees looking to deal with problem debts, but it should only be considered as part of a long-term retirement plan.

“I would urge anyone in the Worcester area who is in this situation to seek free advice from a debt charity such as CCCS, who will be able to explain all the available options and give the best advice tailored to your circumstances.”

CCCS provides the UK’s only free equity release advice service, which is backed by the charity’s comprehensive debt counselling.

More advice is available by calling 08450 742987 or visiting cccs.co.uk/equityrelease