Debt has spiralled out of control

Debt levels are high in Wigan
Debt levels are high in Wigan

THE amount of unsecured debt amassed by Wiganers has topped a massive £6.2m.

That means the average person in debt owes an eye-watering £13,000 each.

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 the borough from phone calls they received was £6,244,447.55.

This works out at an average of £13,371.41 per person. And there are hundreds of similar companies offering debt solutions so it is thought that the actual total in the borough 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 Citizens’ Advice Bureaux 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 out 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 by picking up the phone and asking for advice.

“Over the past 12 months our helpline has taken a staggeringly high number of calls.

“Living with debt is a continuing problem for many, but people are being more open, honest and savvy about how to tackle it.”