More people are seeking help from Citizens Advice about debt issues in the wake of the economic slowdown.
The charity says it has experienced a rise in demand for its services, which aim to negotiate workable agreements between debtors and creditors.
Bureaux in England and Wales have dealt with 35 per cent more mortgage and secured loan arrears problems over the past year, with 77,324 new enquiries since October 2007.
However, the body welcomed a reduction in the number of credit and store card debts.
Chief executive David Harker said: “While we are pleased to see the number of consumer credit problems going down, the increase in the number of enquiries about basic essentials is worrying.”
A survey from the organisation revealed that the main reasons for people falling into arrears were job losses (20 per cent), health problems (17 per cent) and relationship breakdowns (16 per cent).
Meanwhile Moneyfacts has claimed that loan rates are soaring, with only seven providers offering rates of less than eight per cent.
By Jamie Price