Municipal credit banks (GKB) in Groningen and Drenthe are bracing for an influx of clients seeking debt relief due to soaring energy prices and rising cost of living.
“We are facing a wave of new debt files,” Jeroen Moolhuizen, lawyer at the Volkskredietbank Noord-Oost Groningen, told the Dagblad van het Noorden. The first Groningen residents, who found themselves in financial distress, have already approached the Volkskredietbank, a social bank and a debt-solving agency, but the institution expects many more to follow suit.
Those on benefits and in low-income jobs have always struggled with their energy bills, but these days even people with stable jobs find it increasingly difficult to cope with the worst cost-of-living crisis in 30 years, according to Moolhuizen. He cites an example of a client who saw his monthly advance payments rise from €300 to €500 in one go. “When he came forward, it turned out that he was already in arrears that needed to be cleared. His monthly amount is now 650 euros. He can no longer make such payments,” says Moolhuizen.
The lawyer calls on people who face mounting debt to seek help and not to wait until the situation spirals out of control. “The livelihoods of a growing group of people are at risk. The number of people in need of support is greater than the available budget. Moreover, it’s unlikely the problem will go away any time soon.”