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Incomes 'are to be stretched further'

Bank refunds could be used to increase incomes that are struggling to cope with the rising cost of living in the UK.

Many people in the country are becoming dependent on credit to pay for food and energy bills, said Joanna Elson, the chief executive of the Money Advice Trust.

Rising inflation levels mean that incomes cannot stretch as far as they once did and are initiating a reliance on credit and that is causing debt problems, she added.

Office for National Statistics figures show the rate of inflation is now 5.2 per cent and Ms Elson advised people to seek help if they are using credit to pay bills.

Alternatively, consumers looking to boost their income may be entitled to PPI refunds.

Figures from the Financial Services Authority show banks paid out more than £215 million in PPI refunds in the first six months of 2011.

Samantha Clarke

Samantha is a former banking assistant and has over ten years experience in retail banking. ADNFCR-2776-ID-800762553-ADNFCR

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