When I was doing that second radio interview with Heart FM earlier this week, an instructive fact about the state of our economy cropped up.

I was talking to Heart’s Rob Mayor about the necessity for Brits with debt problems to get tailored and impartial advice, preferably from one of our excellent independent advice organisations within the charity / voluntary sector. The best-known examples at the national level are probably CAB (Citizens Advice), CCCS (Consumer Credit Counselling Service) and National Debtline. I also said that a face-to-face interview was better than a phone helpline, especially for anyone starting to get to grips with the problem for the first time.

However, just before we started to record the interview, I had a call from Citizens Advice in response to an earlier enquiry of mine. As Rob and I had just been talking about the recession, I asked my CAB contact what was their current waiting time for a face-to-face debt advice interview. The answer was 3 – 4 weeks; longer than usual and a sign that the effects of the recession will be with us for quite a while yet. Phone help is, of course, available a lot more quickly.