Main content

Debt Killed My Dad

Helen Grady investigates how the bankruptcy system turns small debts into huge bills which can lead to financial ruin.

In August, Jessica Hurst wrote to the media asking them to investigate how her dad’s debts of just under £12,000 became a bill of just under £73,000. Nigel Hurst killed himself a year ago after learning that bailiffs were to repossess his family home. It was the bailiff who found him.

Student, Jessica, was left with a pile of debt recovery letters and bank statements which she hoped would hold the clue to his financial troubles. File on 4 reporter Helen Grady takes up Jessica’s challenge.

Her findings include the fact that councils are increasingly enforcing council tax debts, often using aggressive tactics which have been outlawed or become outdated in the private sector. And that bankruptcy can trigger a series of punitive charges - including some paid directly to the Government - which can make a manageable debt unmanageable.

The charities interviewed for this programme that provide free debt advice are …
www.stepchange.org
www.nationaldebtline.org
capuk.org

If you are feeling emotionally distressed and would like details of organisations which offer advice and support, visit BBC Action Line or you can call for free, at any time, to hear recorded information 0800 066 066

You can also get help from …

https://www.samaritans.org/
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/suicide/

Presenter: Helen Grady
Producer: David Lewis
Editor; Andrew Smith

Available now

37 minutes

Broadcasts

Download this programme

Download this programme

Subscribe to this programme or download individual episodes.

Podcast