HUNDREDS of Lancashire couples on the verge of credit crunch break-ups cannot afford counselling to solve their problems.

Relationship counselling charity Relate has told how they are receiving more calls than ever from couples who claim their finances are putting them under desperate strain.

However Lancashire’s Relate offices have seen a 10 per cent fall in couples coming in for counselling as many simply cannot afford to pay for sessions.

The problem is thought to be particularly bad in the county’s most deprived areas.

The charity offers counselling sessions of £45 a time to couples and has traditionally offered subsidised rates to couples who cannot afford it.

However, Relates own falling revenues means it is not able to offer as many subsidies as in the past.

Figures show that around 500 fewer couples are coming in for counselling sessions than they were two years ago across the county.

Accrington Relate manager Patrick Nevin said: “We are currently finding that we have less clients but are getting more calls from people seeking advice.

"Often we are asking them to come in and let us help them sort out their problems, but they simply don’t have the means to pay for the counselling they need.

"We don’t have figures on the numbers of people calling in, because there are so many, but it is a lot more than usual lately.

"This year Relate was nationally given government funding to help with the financial situation but by the time that money filtered down to Lancashire there was not much left in the pot.

"We aren’t offering as many subsidies and the number of people finding themselves in relationship difficulties is rising.

"People who had some problems to start out with, will often find money worries put increasing strain on the relationship. We’ve seen it affect the number of clients we get quite markedly as a result.”

Relate said it had seen the number of couples paying full rate for counselling sessions fall steadily over the past two years until reaching its present level.