£10m debt could be tip of the iceberg

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The amount of unsecured debt amassed by people in St Helens stood at a massive £10.3m meaning the average person in debt owes nerly £13,000.

And this may just be the tip of the iceberg as the figures are only collated from one debt solution company.

The study by PayPlan found that last year, the total amount of unsecured debt in St Helens from phone calls they received was £10,327,393.

This works out at an average of £12,813 per person. And there are hundreds of similar companies offering debt solutions so it is thought that the actual total in the town is way more than just the figures quoted by PayPlan.

The MP for Makerfield, Yvonne Fovargue, has long been campaigning for pay day loan companies to be better sanctioned amid stories of debt spiralling out of control.

Ms Fovargue said: “The figures reveal the real cost of living crisis. While we are told that the economy is at last on the up, the fact remains that so many people continue to struggle in their daily lives.

“Debt levels are rising, wages stagnating and food banks have made a shocking reappearance in our community.

“However, my advice to those who find themselves in a spiral of debt is to not suffer in silence – seek help from our local CAB who can provide free and impartial advice and consider joining a credit union like Unify who can offer low cost loans as well as saving plans providing a real alternative to the payday lending industry.”

Nationally, Birmingham has the highest total of unsecured debt with £29.3m followed by Manchester with £16.1m and Liverpool with £11.5m.

John Fairhurst, policy and external affairs director at PayPlan said: “The ‘Debt Savvy’ title reflects the fact that these individuals have all acknowledged that they need help and support to sort their personal finances.

“Yes, they have incurred a substantial amount of debt between them, but they aren’t burying their heads in the sand anymore and have taken a brave and important step.

“Over the past 12 months our helpline has taken a staggeringly high number of calls. Living with debt is a problem for many, but people are being more open about it.”