Wigan saw the average level of personal debt held by people seeking financial advice rocket by a massive 39 per cent in the three months leading up to Christmas.
According to the latest UK Personal Debt Index, the average unsecured debt of individuals in the borough rose sharply in the previous three months, making it one of the largest increases in the country.
On average, individuals in Wigan now owe £19,943 – compared to the national average of £19,996.
The PDI is compiled quarterly by Creditfix, a major personal insolvency practice. Unsecured debt refers to any debt that is not protected by a guarantor or asset; this includes bank loans, credit cards and payday loans.
CEO Terry Sweeney said it is not uncommon for people to struggle at this time of year.
He said: “The three months leading up to Christmas are always an expensive time, with pressures mounting to recreate the perfect festive occasion with gifts, parties and food all to pay for.
“In many ways, these figures are not unexpected but they do also reflect a longer-term issue for individuals who have a history of financial concerns. The new year is a great opportunity for individuals to resolve to tackle their money worries head on.
“It is quite understandably a very sensitive and worrying issue to deal with – particularly if these individuals don’t share the burden with loved ones – but in January, we would implore people to take a deep breath and seek professional advice.”