Multi-million pound debts hit locals

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Liverpool city centre. Photo: Ida Husøy

Liverpool city centre. Photo: Ida Husøy

Thousands of Merseyside homeowners have sought financial help as they struggle to cope with millions of pounds of debt.

More than £47m of debt has been racked up by the 2,000 households across Liverpool and Wirral who have contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau or debt advice service, Payplan.

Payplan figures suggest only one in six people seek help with debt and claim debts from billpayers in those areas could actually total around £282m.

In Liverpool it is claimed that the average debt of their clients was £61,757, while in Wirral that figure is £96,633.

The highest average debt among Payplan clients in these places was in Wirral’s CH64 area (around Neston), which comes to more than £275,000.

Jason Eaves, a director at the firm, said: “Many families have seen their budgets squeezed. Some parts of the country are in recovery while other parts are still in decline. But even in more affluent areas if wage increases have not matched the rising cost of living then debt is still a problem.

“Many people are struggling to make ends meet, so if mortgage rates rise and gas and electricity prices increase, it will push many more people into problem debt.”

Payplan say that in the last few years they have seen a broader range of people come to them for debt advice – from homeowners with debt levels of £200,000 to young families and pensioners.

Wirral CAB has backed up claims that debt problems are rising as debt issues had made up one third of all their enquiries in the past six months.

More than 2,000 people have contacted the borough’s CAB alone with about £3m of debt problems in that time.

Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice said:  “It’s easy to understand why so many people try to ignore debt problems hoping they will go away, but that’s not the answer.”

About James Routledge, JMU Journalism