Wiganers' debt soars by 18 per cent in the space of just three months
The Personal Debt Index is compiled by using data from over 185,000 people across the UK who have received help with their finances through an IVA with Creditfix.
As the cost-of-living crisis continues, many households are struggling financially, and increased levels of debt are a real worry for many.
According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, UK households will spend £83bn in servicing debts (mortgages, credit cards and personal loans) in 2023-24 – an increase of 52 per cent from 2022.
It comes as no surprise that this has had a huge impact on unsecured debts. Creditfix data shows that the national average level of unsecured debt stands at £17,326.
However, Wigan has seen unsecured debt levels rise between January and March this year, from an average of £17,743 in 2022 to £19,783 - an 18.1 per cent increase.
Layla Johnson, regional manager at Creditfix, said: “The cost-of-living crisis is continuing to cause huge disruption to personal finances across the UK. The recent increase in interest rates is driving mortgage and rent payments and the loss of the £400 winter energy discount will result in a continuation of rising energy bills for households.
“The findings of our personal index show that, now more than ever, it’s important for individuals to seek help with their debts before the problem becomes insurmountable.”
She added: “April marks Stress Awareness Month and the connections between money worries and mental health challenges are all too well known, so it’s vital that people shake the stigma of debt, even if that’s just by speaking to a trusted friend or family member.”
To help the nation make the first steps in their debt recovery journey, Ms Johnson has shared her advice to help Britons take control of their finances:
Review your current finances
As prices of bills and everyday essentials continue to soar, we’re all more aware of how far our money goes (or doesn’t) than ever.
If you’re concerned about your financial situation, taking time to review your income and expenditure should be one of the first steps you take to better money management. This exercise might also offer the courage or inspiration to switch banks to a new provider with better rates or rewards.
Check your entitlement
Another important part of money management is making sure you’re getting all the support you’re entitled to. Whether it’s checking if you’re eligible for benefits such as Universal Credit, council tax discounts or upcoming government support – like the cost-of-living benefit payments – don’t miss out on what you’re owed.
Ask for help
Talking about money worries isn’t easy but opening up to a friend, loved one or debt help professional can lift a weight off your shoulders. Living with debt can be isolating but people from all walks of life are finding themselves in the same situation during the current economic crisis. One conversation could not only help you on the road to regaining financial control but also peace of mind that you’re not alone.