Debt woes in Plymouth on the rise

Increasing numbers of people in the Plymouth area are struggling with debt and are only just able to meet their living costs, according to new figures released today by StepChange Debt Charity. During 2014, the charity’s helpline was contacted by 1653 people from the Plymouth postcode area, compared to 1456 in 2013, a rise of 14%1.

Household budgets have shown slight signs of improvement, with those contacting the charity from the Plymouth area an average of £9 better off than the previous year. Still, the average person had only £33 left to put towards their debts after covering their essential household bills each month. The average person owed £10,678 in unsecured debt such as credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts.

7 Days, 7 Ways

The figures are released as part of the charity’s Debt Awareness Week – 7 Days, 7 Ways campaign, which is aimed at helping people to get control of their finances and start tackling their debt problems by taking steps such as creating a comprehensive household budget and opening all correspondence from creditors. A survey commissioned by the charity found that over 2 million adults in the South West region do not have a household budget2.

Mike O’Connor, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said: "More and more families in the Plymouth area are falling into debt and struggling to make ends meet. For those living on the edge of their financial means, taking control of the situation can seem a daunting, if not impossible, prospect, but taking positive steps towards tackling debt is crucial to getting back on your feet. We urge those who are worried about their debt problems to seek free confidential advice as soon as possible."