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Debt enquiries "to surge" after Christmas, Citizens Advice says

Christmas debts are likely to lead to a rash of enquiries to Citizens Advice in the New Year, the charity has said.According to the organisation, a "surge" is expected following the festive season, with people facing higher card and loan bills.The financial downturn has already caused an upswing in the number of people having financial problems and contacting Citizens Advice bureaux.For example, mortgage and other secured loans enquiries have risen by 35 per cent over the past 12 months, as home loans provision is squeezed by the credit crunch.John Rhodes, head of financial capability at Citizens Advice said: "Christmas is a time of giving, but you don't want to give yourself a headache in the New Year with bills and debts you can't afford. "It's all too easy to overspend - there are tempting offers and pressures to buy, but you must decide how much you can afford before you start spending."He added: "If you do find yourself in difficulties then seek advice as soon as possible. Make sure that you are prioritising paying the bills which keep you in your home, warm and at liberty."

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