PEOPLE suffering from debt can get new help if they are struggling to pay for their TV licence.

A new report from Christians Against Poverty has revealed 8.3 million UK residents have problems meeting household bills, keeping up with repayments and servicing credit.

It estimates that in North West the average outstanding debt for hard-up households is £13,722.

Now TV Licensing, which has a Customer Services Centre in Darwen's India Mills operated by Capita is encouraging people in financial difficulties in the region to ask for help if they are struggling to pay for the annual £150.50 TV licence.

It is promoting payment plans including: weekly cash payments from as £6 a week via PayPoint outlets, online, by phone or text message; and monthly or quarterly direct debit pans;

It is also trialling a new system for customers most at risk of prosecution.

This spreads the cost of the licence fee evenly over the year, in contrast to the first licence being bought for six months as legally required for current instalment schemes.

The trial plan will only be available to: people who have sought debt advice from selected charities; those who have previously held a licence cancelled in the last six months because of missed payments and people who have been questioned under caution for TV licence fee evasion when visited by a TV Licensing enquiry officer.

Matthew Thompson, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said: “If you’re faced with unexpected financial difficulties and sorting your TV Licence is still on the to-do list, organise it sooner rather than later. You can call 0300 790 6113.”

A licence is needed to watch or record live TV, on any device including a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.