Prime minister David Cameron has acknowledged that current personal financial situations are difficult for many people.
In his new year message, the prime minister said: "Of course I know that there will be many people watching this who are worried about what else the year might bring. There are fears about jobs and paying the bills. The search for work has become difficult, particularly for young people. And rising prices have hit household budgets. I get that."
However, he insisted that the government has the right policies to tackle this, protecting Britain to a large extent from the debt storm in the eurozone and restructuring the UK economy for a better future, adding that he intended to tackle the culture of excessive reward at the top as well as welfare dependency.
For those who are in debt, however, the problem may be much more pressing and immediate than anything that can be solved in the longer run through a restructured economy.
An individual voluntary arrangement might constitute the best solution for those who are in the greatest difficulty, as it is designed as a means to helping those with £15,000 or more of debts without resorting to bankruptcy.
It means paying back a lower amount each month over a period of up to – but not exceeding – five years, after which all remaining debt is written off.
Such a deal requires the agreement of at least three-quarters of creditors.
Mr Cameron's words come after his deputy and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg delivered a warning to members of his party last week that the "economic rescue mission" the government is engaged in is far from over.
By James Francis