Advice pages – Financial

Source of Financial Advice

If you are having financial difficulties or are in arrears with your mortgage, the page gives information of where you can get help.

I am not a lawyer or a financial adviser so cannot give individual financial or legal advice. However if you live in the Mid-Formartine area, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will do all that I can as to try to help. You should first of all check that I am your Councillor, as if I am not you will need to go to your own Councillor instead. My contact details can be got from the How to Contact me page at:

If you are in arrears with your mortgage, the advice is that is never too early or too late to get in touch with your mortgage company. You should also work out what your priority debts are. Normally you should prioritise housing costs such as mortgage repayments or rent. You should also pay your TV licence as you can get a large fine or go to prison if you don’t. Other debts – particularly “unsecured” loans (loans that are not secured on your property) may be less important, particularly in the short term, but you should work out a budget and try to work out how you will repay your debts. Legal costs and other charges can significantly increase your debts if you don’t keep the companies and organisations that you owe money to informed and come to some arrangement with them. The National Debtline (details below) can help with this and helping your draw up a budget.

In general, most experts would warn people against or use extreme care when using commercial companies that advertise to solve debt problems. And certainly you should get advice from an independent source if you do. Most of the links below are to sites and help run by charities or Government organisations etc. unless the information says otherwise.

You may find the sources of advice and help below helpful. I am obviously not responsible for the content of third party websites or advice. But the websites and helplines below are some of the major sources of help and many of the websites below have further sources of help. They will open a new window in your browser and if other people use your computer they may be able to see websites that you have visited.

I hope this provides you with some useful information. As I say, I cannot give individual legal or financial advice and also have to appreciate that companies and organisations have a right to pursue money owed to them. However, if you feel that your bank or utility company etc. is not being reasonable or I can help in any other way and I am your Councillor then please do not hesitate to get in touch with me and I will do what I can to pursue things. I will normally need any relevant reference numbers for the organisations – particularly your National Insurance Number for benefits or tax credits or Housing Benefit Reference number or your customer reference number. Also if you know of a good source of information or help not detailed here then please get in touch.

General Advice – Citizens Advice Bureau

The Citizens Advice service helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free information and advice from over 3,200 locations. Details of Aberdeen’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau is at:

http://www.cas.org.uk/WebOfficeDetails.aspx?id=3&letter=A

Their online advice guide is at:

www.adviceguide.org.uk

Gordon Rural Action

They are based in Inverurie and they can offer help on money advice matters similar to the Citizens Advice Bureau. They also offer help in Ellon and Huntly.

http://tinyurl.com/aqqvrs

Money Advice – National Debtline

The National debtline helpline that provides free confidential and Independent Advice on how to deal with debt problems. It’s website is at:

www.nationaldebtline.co.uk

Benefits – Government

You should check that you are getting all the money and help that you are entitled in benefits, tax credits, pension credit (if over 60) and other help. You and your relatives have paid taxes to provide the help that the welfare state provides. You may find that you are entitled to more help than you are getting at the moment even if you are working. The national government “portal” providing links to a great deal of official national Government advice on virtually all Government issues including benefits is at:

www.direct.gov.uk

For residents in Aberdeenshire, The Shire Council administers housing benefit (help with rent) and council tax “benefit” – reductions in the council tax benefit depending on your income. A substantial sum of money goes unclaimed in benefits so you should check whether you are likely to be entitled to any help. Their website is at:

http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/

The benefits Aberdeenshire administer are:

http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/benefits

You can also do a brief check as to whether you are likely to be entitled to more benefits or tax credit at the following website:

http://www.entitledto.co.uk/

(This is run by a company that provides products to advisers to calculate benefits).

These can give rough idea of whether you are not you are likely to be entitled to benefits such as Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit and tax credits. It is not 100% accurate – you may be entitled to benefits even if the calculators say you are not or vice versa. In particular you should double check things if you may be entitled to disability benefits or if you are older (over-50).

General Advice – Moneysavingexpert.com

This is a wide ranging independent website – offering a large amount of help on a variety of money issues. It is run independently by Martin Lewis who appears on many money advice TV and radio programmes. It makes it money by including “affliate” links in its advice to other sites which then pay a small amount of money to moneysavingexpert.com. It has a section explaining how it is funded.

It is a very useful starting point for money advice – including further sources of money advice. It also has advice on how to save money by shopping around for things like insurance and gas and electricity and how to save money without reducing your lifestyle. It has a useful forum – but this is not heavily monitored or moderated so any advice from third parties should be double-checked.

www.moneysavingexpert.com

It is also possible that you need you might be able to reclaim your bank charges. At the time of writing there is a test court case which is putting things on hold but if you are on a low income etc. then you may be able to reclaim the charges now. There are more details at:

www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/oft-bank-charges

Housing Advice – Shelter

Shelter is the housing and homelessness charity. It runs a helpline and has advice on its website relating to housing issues – particularly your rights as a tenant with your landlord. Its website address is:

http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/

Tax advice – Tax aid

TaxAid is a UK charity providing free tax advice to people who cannot afford to pay a professional adviser. The service is independent and confidential. Its website is at:

www.taxaid.org.uk

Emotional Help – The Samaritans

Money worries can be very emotional. The Samritans might be able to help. The Samaritans say: “Samaritans provides confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide. Whatever you’re going through, whether it’s big or small, don’t bottle it up. We are here for you if you’re worried about something, feel upset or confused, or just want to talk to someone.”

More details on their help can be got from their website at which includes other sources of help for emotional difficulties and stress:

www.samaritans.org

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