The number of Brits seeking financial help this year reached record levels as consumers struggled with their Christmas overspending, according to new figures.
Calls to the government-created debt advice organisation, National Debtline, were up by 40 per cent in 2006.
But this has led to the company having to leave two-thirds of its calls unanswered because they do not have enough staff to deal with the increased demand.
This rise in the numbers seeking advice from the helpline reflects the increasing nationwide debt problem.
"Consumer debt levels continue to increase by ten per cent, year on year, with no discernible difference in growth rates across mortgages, credit cards and other personal loans," said a spokesperson for investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston to the Telegraph.
"The debt spiral is getting bigger, not smaller."
Predictions for debt levels in the coming year remain pessimistic as financial accountancy Grant Thornton expects that more than 20,000 people will declare bankruptcy in 2006.
This would constitute the highest quarterly figure since records began.
In addition, figures show that British consumers are owing more than £1.1 trillion on credit cards, loans and overdrafts.
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