A HALTON firm specialising in debt management has increased staffing to cope with the numbers of people seeking debt advice.
And it says that it is no surprise that Halton residents have close to double the average debt of the rest of the UK.
The Debt People, a specialist in drawing up 'individual voluntary arrangements' for debt repayment, says last week's revelations in the Weekly News gave a 'timely reminder' of the debt nightmare faced by thousands of Halton residents.
The company says demand for debt advice is rocketing as more people find themselves in dire financial straits.
Hitesh Patel, chief executive of Halton Citizens Advice Bureau, told the Weekly News that more than 700 clients on the CAB books seeking help on debt matters had average debts of more than £20,000 each, while the average figure for the UK was £13,000.
He estimated that one in five Halton households were in the grip of debt and said statistics from Halton Borough Council showed that one in ten households received final warnings for non-payment of council tax.
Chris Daw, director of Daresbury-based The Debt People, said their number of requests for debt advice were growing at a similar rate to the CAB's .
Mr Daw said: 'The article was a timely and disturbing reminder of the huge increase in personal debt and the painful human impact which unresolved debts can bring.
'We share the newspaper's concerns about the levels of debt and the impact on the individual's quality of life and we will continue to do what we can to help those who contact us.
'To cope with the huge demand for our free no-appointment advice service, we have relocated to larger offices at Daresbury Park and increased staffing levels 15 fold.'