Ipswich residents living with average debt of over £10,000 according to charity figures

Man falsely claimed benefits

Man falsely claimed benefits - Credit: Archant

Residents in Ipswich are living with an average debt of £10,269, figures released by a national debt charity have revealed.

According to StepChange Debt Charity, 653 people in the Ipswich area contacted them in the first half of this year seeking debt advice, with an average debt of £10,269 and a monthly shortfall of £3 rendering them unable to pay household bills.

Despite the alarming figure, residents in Suffolk are living with a lower debt than the national average, according to StepChange’s figures.

Calls taken from across the country between January and July found the average amount of debt to be £11,708, with a shortfall of £13 in the monthly budget.

Mike O’Connor, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said: “Everyone faces ups and downs in life, but more than 11m people in Britain are now experiencing some financial difficulty and a quarter of those are in severe problem debt.

“Ipswich is no exception and although the economy is beginning to recover, millions of households remain vulnerable to shocks to their income over the next year and many could find they have no alternative but to turn to credit to cope, which can quickly make the problem much worse.

“Debt can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, including sleepless nights, anxiety and mental and physical health problems with knock-on effects for their families.

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“We would urge anyone who is experiencing debt problems to call us for free, impartial debt advice and take that first step as early as they possibly can.”

Nationally, more than 1 in 5 people are showing at least one sign of financial difficulty, 2.6m are in severe problem debt and 73% suffered at least one ‘income shock’ in the last year, such as job loss or a reduction in hours according to StepChange.

The figures come at the same time as the Bank of England warned that it is seeing the highest annual increase in borrowing on credit cards and personal loans for nine years.

As a result, StepChange is warning residents that those who turn to credit, such as credit cards and payday loans, make themselves 20-times more likely to fall into substantial debt.