An increasing number of expats are struggling to keep up with their debts due to the weak pound, according to a UK based charity.

The Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) said it has seen a 33% jump in the number of people who live abroad contacting their debt helpline because they were having problems repaying UK debts.



The charity said more than 500 people based overseas had contacted it so far this year, compared with 375 during the same period of 2009. A total of 1,691 people called the helpline from outside the UK last year.

It said the increase was being driven by people who live in Eurozone countries who have seen sharp falls in their incomes because of the weakness of the pound. Expats in Europe who received their incomes in sterling and then had to convert it into euros were having to use a higher proportion of their money to meet their day-to-day living costs, leaving them with less cash to repay their debts.

Pensioners living abroad have been hit particularly hard by the weakness of sterling, as not only do their incomes tend to be fixed, but they also typically spend more of it on daily living expenses.

The CCCS said 18% of the people living abroad who contacted it for help were aged over 60, while 44% were aged between 40 to 59, which the group thought reflected people who had retired early.

It added that the majority of calls it received were from people living in Spain, particularly the Costa del Sol.

'The decreasing value of the pound is the main reason that those living abroad are struggling to repay their debts,' said Laura Carver, CCCS helpline manager.

'We have had people whose income had allowed them to life comfortably abroad, and although that income hasn't changed, they have been left struggling to make ends meet by the decreasing value of the pound. Many are considering moving back to the UK,' she added.