Six North-East areas are in country’s top 20 debt hotspots, report reveals

Six of the country’s biggest “debt hotspots” are in the North-East, a report has revealed.

South Tyneside, Darlington, North Tyneside, Gateshead, Middlesbrough and Northumberland have some of the biggest clusters of people seeking help from Citizens Advice in England and Wales.

The charity dealt with 405 clients in Denbigshire between July and September – or 0.54 per cent of the adult population – making this area of North Wales the top debt hotspot.

South Tyneside was fourth with 607 clients seen (0.5 per cent); Darlington joint fifth with 410 clients (0.49 per cent); North Tyneside joint seventh with 776 (0.48 per cent); Gateshead 748 (0.46 per cent) and Middlesbrough 499 (0.46 per cent) in joint 11th and Northumberland in joint 15th place with 1,166 clients seen or 0.45 per cent of its adult population.

The charity, which has helped almost half a million people with debt over the last year, made the findings after analysing the cries for debt help it received over the three month period.

Citizens Advice said since the economic crisis, problems with consumer debt such as credit cards and personal loans have fallen significantly. By contrast, problems with “priority debts” such as rent arrears and council tax debts are growing.

 It is seeing increasing numbers of people tipped into problem debt by everyday living costs rather than some particular life event such as the loss of a job or divorce.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Times have changed, and so have people’s debt problems.

“Consumer debts like credit cards and personal loans have traditionally been the most common debt problems. But now priority debts such as council tax arrears are gradually building up as people struggle to cover everyday costs.

“In the past, people were more likely to get help for debt problems triggered by life events such as illness, redundancy or separation.

“But in recent years more people are being pushed into debt as they struggle to stretch their income to cover everyday living costs.”

Here are the biggest debt hotspots across England and Wales, according to Citizens Advice, with the number of people it helped between July and September, and also expressed as a percentage of the local adult population:

1. Denbighshire, 405, 0.54%;
2. Merthyr Tydfil, 248, 0.53%;
3. Stoke-on-Trent, 1,031, 0.52%;
4. South Tyneside, 607, 0.50%;
=5. Darlington, 410, 0.49%;
=5. Salford, 908, 0.49%;
=7. Copeland, 276, 0.48%;
=7. North Tyneside, 776, 0.48%;
=9. Mendip, 411, 0.47%;
=9. Liverpool, 1,793, 0.47%;
=11. Stevenage, 303, 0.46%;
=11. Gateshead, 748, 0.46%;
=11. Middlesbrough, 499, 0.46%;
=11. Torfaen, 330, 0.46%;
=15. Northumberland, 1,166, 0.45%;
=15. Lincoln, 348, 0.45%;
=17. Cannock Chase, 336, 0.43%;
=17. Barrow-in-Furness, 240, 0.43%;
=17. Hastings, 310, 0.43%;
=17. Sandwell, 1,015, 0.43%

Source –  Northern Echo,  06 Dec 2014

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