Saturday, 12 March 2011

Too broke to go bankrupt

I heard it again yesterday. It kills me inside. You see, I know that place. Terrified witless, you’ve driven yourself and your dependents into the ground because somewhere along the line, no one ever made it feel safe to deal with your debts early. You don’t even matter so much as to be declared bankrupt by one of your creditors. Your debts are paltry, a few grand here, a few grand there: destitution for you, but not enough that anyone you owe money to takes note.

I was lucky. My cousin lent me the bankruptcy fee. But what if there is no one - what do you do when you’re too broke to go bankrupt?

To the comment trolls, who thrive on “you deserve everything you get” and “I told you so”, let me just say, have you never screwed up - not even at an interview, on a date or when driving? Did you want to set the record straight or start afresh, a little wiser for your experience? 

In Britain, we are awash with the pedlars of debt denial, loans to consolidate, for payback on payday, or those seedy little envelopes promising cash for gold. The carrion of recession, these are the vultures, which feed on diversions to leave original debts unpaid. With £1452 billion in outstanding personal borrowing in the UK, there are an awful lot of people who chose to buy now pay later. Can we really afford for them all to go bust?

Call me old fashioned, but Christians Against Poverty demonstrate what’s best in their faith. Good Samaritans, who are nobody’s fool: when you need help, they give it. Responding to the growing numbers of people who are surfacing as unable to cope with the credit culture we created, CAP have plans for 150 centres by 2015. If you’re too broke to go bankrupt call them on 0800 328 0006 and they should help you out.

Another superb charity for the destitute is Charis. I met their CEO not so long ago and was bowled over with admiration. They administer funds for a number of energy and water companies, making grants to individuals who have hit a brick wall. They provide help with bankruptcy fees, energy bills and white goods even. Their commitment to getting people back on their feet is second to none. Eligibility depends on where you live and it’s a good idea to ask an adviser for help with completing your application because you need to include everything.  Charis won’t support an application that sees you falling back into arrears in a few months time.

If you’re reading this because you’re too broke to know what to do, check the guidance below from the Insolvency Service first. Bankruptcy may not be for you. Alongside the Debt Relief Order, it is a last resort. Annex A lists organisations where you may find free advice and if you find yourself opting for paid support, make sure the company is a member of either the DRF or DEMSA.


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