A DEBT counselling service has taken on another expert to help tackle the spiralling number of people in Taunton struggling to make ends meet.

The local branch of the Christians Against Poverty (CAP)charity has seen a marked increase in the number of people making appointments for help with out of control debts.

Nick Webb, a retired senior manager at the UK Hydrographic Office, has joined Taunton Vineyard Church-based CAP as a debt coach.

Centre manager Jon Carrington said: "We’re delighted to welcome Nick onto the team.

"It’s great news for our local community. We’ll have many more appointments available each week and will be able to see and help many more people, much more quickly."

The facility, which opened in 2015, has seen a steady growth in clients seeking face-to-face advice, with most getting in touch through personal recommendation, and others referred by family centres, housing associations and council offices.

The clients’ creditors are contacted by CAP, a workable budget is set for the household and the charity continues to give support and encouragement until each person is debt free.

Mr Carrington added: "The most common cause of debt is persistent low income, followed by a change in circumstance, for example job loss, relationship breakdown, accident or illness in the family."

A spokesman said there have also been issues with the roll out of Universal Credit.

He said: "Some have never really recovered from the recession.

"We know that from being on the ground, there are more people struggling with debt.

"Universal Credit is a massive issue because of the length of time people have to wait for payment once they have applied. The wait is supposed to be six weeks, but in reality most people have to wait a lot longer, and for lots of people it doesn't get sorted out the first time. There are lots of complications."

For more information about CAP visit www.capuk.org call 0800-3280006 or drop into the Lighthouse Cafe at North Street Church any Wednesday morning and have a chat in complete confidence with Mr Carrington or Mr Webb.