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Debt help

In the first trimester of the year, more than 4,000 indebted families requested assistance from consumer protection group DECO, 349 more than in the same period in last year.

By the end of March, DECO had opened 1,015 cases for assistance on serious debt, nearly triple that registered in 2008 and 183 more than in the same period in 2010.

Unemployment is at the root of most debt problems (29.8%), followed by the deterioration of working conditions (21%) and illness (16.5%).

Lisbon and the Algarve have registered the highest growth in requests for debt help.