Debt advice unit to open

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A NEW form of debt counselling is to be introduced in Britain early next year following pledges of support last week from about 100 lenders and utility companies, writes Maria Scott.

A pilot unit using the new system is expected to open in Leeds in the spring.

Counsellors will organise debt-repayment programmes with clients' creditors and will collect a payment towards these debts every month. The counsellors will divide the money and distribute it between the creditors. Fifteen per cent of the amount collected will be retained by the unit to fund its operations.

The system is modelled on one used extensively in the United States.

The organisers of the UK pilot include the finance house GE Capital Retailer Financial Services and Barclays Bank.