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  • New year surge in divorce rate predicted
  • By John Carvel, Social Affairs Editor
  • The Guardian UK
  • 24/12/2008 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: The Rooster ( 264 articles in 2008 )
Councils across England are forecasting a surge in the divorce rate next month as couples succumb to the multiple pressures of Christmas, mortgage arrears and recession, the Local Government Association said last night.

It asked 155 council chief executives about the impact of the economic downturn on voluntary organisations that receive funding from the municipal budget. About 93% said there had been an increase in demand for debt counselling and 17% said more couples are seeking relationship counselling.

The LGA said it appeared that mortgage arrears were driving more people's relationships on to the rocks. It predicted that marital problems would reach a crisis point in early January, when divorce proceedings can be 50% higher than at any other time of year. "The January divorce season could be worse than ever this year," said the LGA. The survey found 69% of councils reported an increase in demand for housing advice as a result of the economic downturn and 50% said voluntary organisations were dealing with more requests for employment advice.

The increase in demand for relationship counselling is particularly pronounced in London, which is heavily reliant on the struggling financial services sector. A quarter of boroughs have more couples seeking help.

One in 10 councils has been asked to give emergency grants to charities and voluntary organisations, which are in trouble because of the economic slowdown. Margaret Eaton, the LGA's chairwoman, said: "These figures demonstrate the effects the credit crunch and the recession are having on families across the country."


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